Gordon v. Raven Systems & Research, Inc.

An office worker was fired for refusing to work in an area with smoking employees.  In refusing to reinstate her, the court held that, in the absence of legislation limiting workplace smoking, an employer in the District of Columbia was under no common law duty to provide a smoke-free workplace where a tobacco smoke-sensitive employee who requested smoke-free accommodations presented at trial no scientific evidence of deleterious effects of tobacco smoke on nonsmokers in general.  The court said that it “has never held that an employer owes a duty to adapt his workplace to the particular sensitivities of an individual employee . . . ” See Rovner, S., “Smoked Out,” Washington Post, April 4, 1980, E5; Kamen, A., “Quiz for Jurors: Do You Smoke?; Smoking Habits of Jurors Are Issue in Suit,” Washington Post, August 7, 1981, B1; Kamen, A., “Smoke-Free Work Areas Not Required,” Washington Post, August 12, 1981, B1; Valente, J., “Nonsmoking Worker Loses on Appeal; Court Rules Companies Have No Special Burden,” Washington Post, May 6, 1983, C1; and Lauter, D., “Court Extinguishes Plea for Smoke-Free Workplace,” National Law Journal, June 6, 1983, 4.

462 A.2d 10, (D.C. App. 1983).