Legal and Illegal Conditions of Employment

Legal and Illegal Conditions of Employment

Babysitting the boss' kids and a ban on smoking - what is lawful?

By Marcia Smith

Can I be forced to babysit the boss’ kids as a condition of employment?

When you’re offered a job, it will be based on certain terms and conditions, along with a job description. It’s perfectly possible for these conditions to encompass babysitting the boss’ kids during working hours, even if babysitting is not explicitly mentioned as one of your responsibilities.

However, it would not be legal if you were forced to babysit outside of your employment, or as unpaid overtime. If you’re asked to carry out work at the boss’ house and there’s no mobility clause in your contract, this might also be considered unlawful.

In addition, being given tasks that are menial or inappropriate to your position could be construed as harassment.

Can not smoking be a condition for employment?

Smoking in an enclosed workplace is against the law and so this is already an implied condition of employment. Any employee who smokes at work could be fired for this offence. The rules also apply to shared vehicles and public transport, and you can’t provide smoking rooms.

Although smoking outdoors is in most locations legal, you don’t have to allow smoking breaks. As an employer, you could enforce a ban on smoking on all company property or at all times while on company business by writing this into your terms of employment. You could also ask candidates whether they’re smokers, but it could prove difficult to prevent staff from smoking during personal time away from the office.