Days Surrounding ‘The Big Game’ Can Cause Super Workplace Headaches

This week is probably not “business as usual” for many workplaces with employees who are fans of football, commercials or just any excuse to socialize, and as a result, many employers will be dealing with several challenges leading up to this weekend’s Super Bowl. Whether it is an increase in online activity, requests to relax dress codes, or unplanned absences next Monday, it is important for managers to remain impartial and consistent in enforcing rules and policies, said John Bosco, a labor, employment and ADA partner with Bailey Brauer PLLC.

Primary among the areas of increased concern is workplace gambling, he said, with a huge spike anticipated for this year’s game since many states have recently modified prohibitions on betting.

“Having consistent policies that address recent changes in state laws greatly reduces legal exposure around gambling in worker- and office-endorsed contests. The week before the Super Bowl is a great time to circulate a policy that also can apply to March Madness,” he said.

“Additionally, participation in office pools should never be mandatory or solicited with pressure to join,” he said. “Although the ADA has expanded the definition of disability, compulsive gambling is not currently recognized as a protected category, however, an employer may still be exposed to complaints from employees and customers regarding workplace gambling.”

If managed properly, businesses can make it through Super Bowl week with a boost in employee morale without hurting overall productivity, safety and customer service, he added.

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