March Madness

March Madness: Rules To Follow In The Office

March Making You Mad? March Madness: Rules To Follow In The Office


The football season is over — and there are probably a few business owners happy about it.

Why?

Some studies suggest that fantasy football costs American businesses $615 million in productivity per NFL week.

But, when one chapter ends, another begins — time for March Madness.

For many of us, March Madness is a rite of passage in the spring, a chance to build camaraderie with co-workers through office pools, a chance to re-connect with college friends during games, and a chance to indulge in a few chicken wings with the family. Just as with fantasy football, however, employers are getting more and more impatient with even the most efficient and talented employees spending work hours accessing gambling websites on company computers during March Madness, taking time to exchange money, trash talk the teams and other sometimes inappropriate behavior with co-workers, friends and family.

At the least, every employee in your office should know the following before filling out a bracket at work:

  • Employers have the right to strictly enforce a policy prohibiting recreational use of the Internet and monitor employee usage to ensure that workers adhere to the policy while working.
  • Employers have the right to expect employees to devote 100 percent of their energies to their jobs between stated work hours.
  • As long as employers act consistently, they can fire employees who play fantasy sports instead of working.

To be safe, what can employers do right now?

Communicate!

If you are the employer, now is the perfect time to explain your specific rules on fantasy leagues in the workplace. It is also importance to note that just because March Madness IS allowed in the office, this doesn’t mean that everyone should take part. Outline reasons for and/or against it and consequences.

If you are the employee and are spending excessive company hours as well as precious time at home on March Madness, you may need more help than the office human resources department can provide and may want to ask yourself these questions.

1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
20. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

According to Gamblers Anonymous, if you answered “yes” to seven or more questions, you or a loved one may have a problem with gambling.

Admitting you or your loved one may need help is the first step to recovery. The second is looking up the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling, which offers a litany of resources and contact information for counseling, treatment programs, additional warning signs and symptoms and much more.

Shayna Balch is an associate in Fisher & Phillips’ local office as well as  a member of the Valley of the Sun Human Resource Association’s Board of Directors. For more information about March Madness in the office, please visit laborlawyers.com or contact Shayna at (602) 281-3406.
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Shayna Balch

About Shayna Balch

Shayna H. Balch is an associate at Fisher & Phillips LLP in Phoenix where she handles matters across all facets of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, preventive counseling, employee training, personnel policies and employment agreements. She is also an incoming member of the Valley of the Sun Human Resources Board of Directors in 2012 and currently serves as chairperson of the organization’s Legislative Action Committee, where she is focused on educating members about current and pending legislative changes as well as influencing the legislative process by bringing the voice of human resource professionals to lawmakers. For more information, please visit www.laborlawyers.com.