A group of nonsmoking federal employees yesterday filed suit in an attempt to force the government to allow smoking only in designated areas of federal buildings.
The employees, along with the Federal Employees for Nonsmokers Rights, Social Security Administration Ecology Group's Committee on TobaccoSmoke and Its Hazardous Effects on Employee Health and the Group Against Smokers' Pollution, Inc. (GASP), said the suit was necessary because the government has not heeded their complaints against office pollution by smokers.
The suit listed employees who claim they have suffered physical ailments ranging from respiratory diseases to nose bleeds because they are forced to work in smokey enviroments that agravate their problems.
One employee of the Social Security Administration says he has been forced to quit his job because the agency would not move him to a nonsmoking area so that his medically diagnosed sensitivity to cigarette smoke would not be aggravated, the suit said.
Joel Joseph, the Washington attorney who filed the suit, said the plaintiffs are seeking smoking areas with proper ventilation so smoke will not drift back into nonsmoking areas.
William E. Wright III, a spokesman for one of the groups filing the suit, said the White House and other government agencies had not responded to similar request for designated smoking areas in federal buildings.
The plaintiffs claim that 48 dangerous compounds are in smoke they are forced to breathe, and that the government is required to provide a safe working environment.