Smith v. Western Electric Co.
Missouri Court of Appeals
643 S.W.2d 10 (Mo. App. 1982)
Smith (plaintiff) experienced severe respiratory discomfort and other severe symptoms every time he was subjected to second hand cigarette smoke. Smith’s doctors told him to avoid tobacco smoke whenever possible. However, Smith’s office space at Western Electric Co. (Western) (defendant) was a wide open area and many of his coworkers were avid smokers. Smith repeatedly brought this to the attention of his employer, but Western failed to adequately remedy the situation. Under Missouri law, an employer owes employees a duty to use all reasonable care to provide a reasonably safe workplace. Although Western made efforts to help Smith cope with the smoke, nothing worked. The only option that kept Smith completely away from smoke was to accept a different position in Western’s computer room where smoking was prohibited. This position came with a significant pay decrease. Smith brought suit, seeking an injunction to prevent Western from exposing him to tobacco smoke in the office. The trial court dismissed Smith’s suit, finding that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Smith appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Dowd, P.J.)
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