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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Employment Law: Employers May Lose During March Madness

 

Whether it’s checking sports scores or social media accounts, every day millions of employees across the state of Georgia and the nation take time during the workday to do something personal online.  And every March, that number is projected to increase due to March Madness and sports’ fans “fear of missing out” (also known as FOMO).  

 

All in all, according to the American Gaming Association, almost 40 million Americans will fill out March Madness brackets this year, with an average bet amount of $29 each.  Not high stakes by most definitions, but employers may stand to lose big. 

 

Compounding the issue for employers - now it’s easier than ever to access game stats from smartphones, tablets and computers.  Every year major media outlets introduce new sources for streaming video and apps specifically designed for sports fans, such as the NCAA's new You Tube Channel and USA Today’s new app.

 

What Employers May Lose During March Madness

 

Lost Productivity:

Because it’s easier than ever to access real-time information about sports teams, employers stand to lose more than $29 while employees can virtually check on every nuance developing during the tournament.  In fact, according to recent numbers released by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, companies will suffer $1.9 billion in lost wages due to distracted and unproductive workers.

 

Company Resources:

Watching video online can also hog bandwidth that should be reserved for business use only.  Employees who absolutely need to check scores during the workday should be encouraged to use their personal devices during a break instead of the company-owned equipment and Internet connection.

 

Liability:

Because gambling is illegal in the state of Georgia employers should not organize, engage or sanction any type of betting at the workplace.    Doing so will put the company at risk.  In fact, employers are at higher risk than employees when it comes to legal liabilities associated with gambling.

 

So, what should employers do during this popular event?  Forbidding any sports talk around the office is almost sure to kill employee morale, but gentle-yet-effective reminders about office policies can go a long way to limit lost productivity.  In fact, clearly-written and well-communicated office policies are an effective tool that can be used all year to set expectations for personal use of company resources, whether it’s to check your social media status or sports brackets.    

 

If you have questions about Employment Law issues, contact Megan Pearson today at mpearson@smithwelchlaw.com or call 770-957-3937.  Smith, Welch, Webb and White, LLC is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the State of Georgia with expertise in employment law. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and our community. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding legal service for you, your family or your business.

 

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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