Who’d have thought the company that developed a discreet and highly addictive nicotine product would have trouble preventing its very own employees from using it in the workplace?
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that in spite of pleas from Juul management and threats of docked bonuses and fourth-strike termination for vaping at work, the practice continues unchecked among some Juul employees. According to the Journal, employees vape in indoor spaces such as at their desks and in hallways as well as in the presence of other workers, such as during meetings.
One reason Juul employees may be bucking the demand is the apparent lack of a previously promised designated space. The paper reported last year that at the time former Juul CEO Kevin Burns emailed employees informing them of the workplace prohibition on vaping, he also informed employees that a tent would be built to accommodate vapers at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
But no such tent has yet materialized more than a year later, according to the Journal. A Juul spokesperson declined to comment on the plans for the tent, but did state that the company is “committed to maintaining a smoke and vapor-free work‐place in compliance with state and local laws.” But even after Burns’ email was sent last year, Juul employees and reportedly even the company’s founders Adam Bowen and James Monsees continued to vape in the workspace.
“Our policy strictly prohibits vaping in our U.S. facilities where applicable law or lease agreements do not allow vaping,” the Juul spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement by email. “We take this commitment very seriously and take appropriate actions against violations.”
Juul has seen a steep fall from public favor in the last year as it has struggled to adequately manage the use of its products among youth, prompting lawmakers this year to raise the age restriction on smoking, vaping, and other tobacco products to 21. Under pressure from regulators and public health departments across the nation, Juul pulled all of its fruity flavors from sale—first from stores, and then from its own online shop. Even iPhones have been affected by the fallout: Apple last month barred all vaping-related apps from its App Store. And recently, the company recently laid off 650 people as part of a cost cutting-measure.
Given all of this—completely setting aside the fact that Juul is a highly addictive product literally by design—is it really any wonder Juul employees are vaping at work?