HR Management & Compliance

A Sample Policy on Workplace Gambling

Creating a policy on workplace gambling is not as simple as it first sounds. Here are some of the complexities … and a possible solution.

You walk down the halls of your workplace and activity is at a level of frenzy you’ve seldom seen. It has nothing to do with work, of course. It’s all about who will win the big game on Sunday.

OK, most of it is harmless and will expire as the clock winds down on the field. But there may also be an undercurrent of money changing hands, based on who won, who lost, and what the point spread was. This may not be so harmless.

As we noted in yesterday’s Daily Advisor, the only side that always loses in workplace gambling is the employer. Lost productivity due to time spent on just one of many sports gambling activities, Fantasy Football, costs employers a cool billion dollars a week.

What it all points to is that you may need a policy on workplace gambling. Easy to write? Not so fast, sport. Actually, there are quite a number of points that need to be observed in formulating it. Thanks to SmartPolicies, BLR’s CD-based encyclopedia of more than 350 prewritten, and ready-to-use HR policies, here are some questions to ask.

–Will you prohibit all gambling or just illegal gambling? What about in special situations, such as entertaining clients?

–Are all gambling items banned from the premises? How about a deck of cards or a handheld video poker game? Or a legally purchased lottery ticket?

–What is your policy on searching employees and on what happens if they refuse to cooperate with an investigation?

–Problem gambling is often considered an addiction, just like drugs or alcohol. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not specifically protect gambling addicts from adverse employment actions, but state law may. What are the provisions in your state?

–Can you legally ban employees from gambling during off-duty hours if you feel it reflects badly on your brand or organization?

–Where are the limits if you choose only a partial ban? Is it OK for individual employees to purchase lottery tickets but not OK for employees to jointly buy them?

If you’d like to know how SmartPolicies answered these questions, here’s an abridged version of the sample policy on the CD. Keep in mind that all SmartPolicies are modifiable on your computer, so if this one is tougher (or more lenient) than what you’d prefer, it can be instantly customized to your use.

“Gambling is not permitted on company property during work hours, during breaks, during lunch periods in the company cafeteria, while traveling on company business, at company functions, or while entertaining clients.

“Company facilities may not be used to gamble (examples are given.) Gambling paraphernalia is not permitted on company facilities or in company vehicles. Gambling includes, but is not limited to, poker, horse betting, fantasy football bets, etc., etc.

“Any drawings, contests, or similar advertising promotions are to be approved by the human resources [or legal] department to ensure the promotion is not an illegal lottery.

“Employees desks, lockers, vehicles, Internet usage, email … may be inspected to ensure compliance with this policy. Employees are expected to cooperate with any investigation and employees who violate this policy are subject to discipline, up to and including termination.”

There are more than 350 other prewritten, legally reviewed policies on this CD and, if you’ll allow us a short plug for it, we think SmartPolicies is the program that smart HR managers should use to quickly and effectively meet all their HR policy writing needs. You can prove that to yourself by taking our marketing department’s offer to let you evaluate the program for 30 days at no cost or obligation. Details on how to do that, along with a look at the full table of contents and another sample of the program, can be accessed by clicking on the links below.

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