Don’t let this Halloween turn into a nightmare for your organization. Halloween costumes can be a fun way to celebrate the holiday during the work day, but allowing employees to wear costumes to work can also create a wide variety of risks for employers.
Are you celebrating Halloween with your staff? Here are some quick tips to limit your liability without forgoing your holiday celebrations:
(1) Remind employees of your harassment and discrimination prevention policy. Remember, Halloween is no excuse for suggestive or inappropriate clothing.
(2) Instruct supervisors to intervene immediately if someone’s costume is related to a protected class or status. Even if a costume is intended to be humorous or a commentary on pop-culture, it’s no defense to a discrimination claim.
(3) Never permit a costume to prevent an employee from using her usual safety equipment.
(4) Keep an eye out for costumes that create new safety risks. For example, you don’t want an employee tasked with driving a vehicle to wear a hat or mask that limits her visibility. Costumes that limit visibility, hearing, or mobility, or might impact the proper use of a safety device, should cause employers to think twice about whether the costume is appropriate for work.
From your friends at The Coppola Firm, we wish you a safe and responsible Halloween. And don’t worry, indulging in Halloween candy is (relatively) risk-free.