Civil servant fined heavily for prolong smoking breaks
A civil servant in Japan has been fined 1.44 million yen, equivalent to $14,700, for smoking on the job more than 4,500 times in 14 years.
The man, along with two colleagues, who were working in the finance department in Osaka, has been penalized for repeatedly smoking during office hours, despite receiving multiple warnings.
The three were caught secretly stashing tobacco in 2022, following which they were warned by their supervisor.
However, they continued smoking and lied about it when interviewed later that year.
Out of the three, the 61-year-old director-level employee was found guilty of violating the “duty of devotion” under the Local Public Service Act.
The man has been asked to return his salary of 1.44 million yen, in addition to a 10 per cent pay cut for six months.
The Osaka government has some of the world’s strictest smoking laws, which prohibits smoking in government premises and during work hours.
In 2019, a high school teacher in Osaka was similarly disciplined for taking 3,400 illicit smoke breaks and asked to return one million yen of his salary to the education ministry.
Some people have found the penalty harsh and argued that other time-wasting activities, like eating snacks or chatting, are not punishable.