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March Madness and Employment Law Issues

Every year, people across the nation fill out their brackets for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and wait in anticipation to see when (not if) their bracket will be busted. But filling out the brackets is not enough. We want to know how we compare to our friends, family, and more often than not, our fellow employees.

But Corporate Counsel points out that March Madness can be one of the most problematic times of year for employers. First and foremost, the NCAA tournament occurs over a three-week period, and many of the games are played during working hours. Also, many employers use work computers and smart phones to:

  • Watch games
  • Check scores
  • Research teams

As a result, there is a decrease in productivity

Office pools may also present a problem. Many pools occur with the employer’s express or implied consent. But office pools are gambling. In some states, there are exceptions to the gambling laws for office pools. But, in Florida, gambling is against the law, and there is no exception for the office pool.

Employers who allow the pools could be seen as condoning their employees’ illegal behavior. And turning a blind eye to that activity could possibly undermine other office rules, such as bans on workplace violence and sexual harassment.

But a survey by OfficeTeam showed that the office pools can help with office morale. So what’s the solution? Corporate Counsel recommends an office pool without an entry fee or placing a television in the break room.

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