“Employees are gambling on work premises after hours…what can I do?”

Kevin Bennett

November 15 2019

As an employer, you get thrown a curveball from time to time. It’s to be expected when you run your own business or employ people.

Some unexpected issues are stranger than others. One of those could be employees gambling on your premises after work hours. You find out one day and suddenly you've got an investigation to handle.

If that does happen, what’s your next move?

What’s the deal with gambling on work premises?

Workplace gambling, especially after hours, is a tricky issue. It’s not as straightforward as you might think. If gambling did take place after work hours, the employees might have a defence. They might say that because it was outside work hours it isn’t work related─and they could have a case.

You might also ask yourself if addiction is a disability. When it comes to gambling, it’s not recognised as a disability in Northern Ireland. That said, certain mental health issues could lead to a gambling addiction. That means you need to investigate the situation further. If you don’t, you run the risk of indirect discrimination.

How do I handle workplace gambling?

If workplace gambling occurs on your premises, you’re going to have a lot of questions. Why my business? Who organised it? How long has it been happening? Were staff in uniform? Each is reasonable and in need of an answer.

Not only do actions such as gambling create potential business risks, they can also damage the relationship you have with your employees. Getting to the root of the problem could involve an internal investigation. Here, you greatly enhance your chances of a resolution if you have effective policies in place.

Could disciplinary action follow?

Depends on the case. If several individuals participated, each will be subject to a separate investigation. The industry you’re in and your company policies will also influence disciplinary action.

In the past, tribunals have settled on the employer’s side when it came to post-work activities. Christmas parties are a good example, as they’re seen as “an extension of the workplace”. With that in mind, the same rules could very well apply to an after-hours gambling issue.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on any employee issue from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 0800 917 0771 or request a callback here.

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