Up in Smoke: Employee’s $11,000 Fine for Work-Time Puffing Leaves Netizens Fuming!

In a puff of smoke, a Japanese civil servant found himself coughing up a whopping 1.44 million yen (around $10,900) after getting busted for smoking on the job more than 4,500 times over 14 years. Talk about burning through cash!

On March 20, authorities in Osaka fined the 61-year-old employee and two of his colleagues from the prefecture’s finance department for lighting up while on duty, despite receiving prior warnings. As a result, the trio faced a 10% pay cut for six months.

Osaka introduced a total ban on smoking cigarettes on government premises in 2008, and in 2019, the ban was extended to cover work hours as well. However, these employees just couldn’t resist the temptation.

Their sneaky smoke breaks were first brought to light by an anonymous tip received by their human resource office in September 2022. After being warned by their supervisor, the trio allegedly lied in a follow-up interview in December 2022, claiming they had quit smoking.

The 61-year-old director-level employee was found to have violated the “duty of devotion” under Japan’s Local Public Service Act. The prefectural government revealed that he racked up an astonishing 355 hours and 19 minutes of smoking time during work hours. In addition to his pay cut, he’s now required to return the $10,900 of his salary.

The news ignited a fiery debate among netizens, with some arguing that the fine was too steep. Others pointed out that taking breaks to chat or enjoy tea and snacks could also be considered time-wasting during work hours.

Regardless of opinions, one thing is for sure: this employee’s smoking habit has certainly gone up in smoke!

Written by Robert D