Cop Fired for Smoking in Police Precinct

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 25, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tennessee police officer James Bishop was fired last week for smoking inside the precinct. Bishop had been a veteran of the force for about 17 years.

As a police officer, Bishop was employed to uphold the law. It turns out he might have been breaking the rules himself.

A city ordinance passed in 2007 forbade smoking inside municipal buildings. This includes the police precinct, according to the AP.

Bishop was on notice. Police Chief Harold Dunivant issued a memo after the ordinance was passed. When Dunivant received complaints that some officers were still smoking in their offices, he issued another reminder.

Dunivant again fielded complaints about officers smoking. At that point, he issued another warning.

It seemed clear that Bishop knew about the policy. In fact, he even asked Dunivant once what areas the no-smoking policy would apply to.

The police chief said that after he received more complaints about Bishop's smoking, he was forced to terminate him.

Some individuals may wonder if they could also be fired for smoking at work. It depends on your employer's policies. It may also depend on state laws. Some states have passed laws that limit or eliminate smoking in the workplace.

This means that in some jurisdictions, smoking at work is banned. In others, smoking is permitted but only in certain areas or outside.

Other states have not addressed this issue yet.

Before you light up in your office, you might want to consult your state statutes first. Or, ask someone in your company's human resources department about company policies. You don't want to end up like James Bishop, the cop who was fired for smoking.

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