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Executive Summary: March Madness, Super Bowl, and Fantasy Football pools have become ingrained in the American workplace and seem harmless to many; however, permitting such activities creates a wide range of risks for employers, from productivity loss to discrimination and disability issues and even criminal penalties. Before turning a blind eye or participating in the pool, here are a few risks with which employers should become familiar.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
If employers decide to take a chance on employee betting, they should institute clear policies. The policy should:
Employers should also include a mechanism for employee complaints and be prepared to handle them in the same way as any other complaints. Enforcement of the policy is key. Employers face a greater chance of liability when they have a policy but do not enforce it fairly.
Employers' Bottom Line:
Employers should be wary of turning a blind eye to workplace gambling, including bracket pools. Depending on state laws, employers who choose to allow gambling at work should institute policies defining acceptable and unacceptable behavior and should discipline violators. The Employment Law360 article, Know Your Risks Before You Make Your Bracket, http://www.law360.com/employment/articles/425382/know-your-risks-before-you-make-your-bracket, (subscription may be required) written by the authors of this Alert, Salvador Simao and Joanna Rich, provides a more detailed discussion of the risks of office betting pools.
Additionally, FordHarrison has prepared a survey of state gambling laws. If you would like a copy, please contact Salvador Simao, email@example.com, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.
Topics: March Madness, Sports Gambling
Published In: Civil Rights Updates, Criminal Law Updates, Labor & Employment Updates
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