Birmingham-based solicitors Shakespeares offers this quick guide for employers:
Kitted out: Staff may well want to dress in their team’s football shirts, so let them know if you’ve relaxed the dress code or not and set out the standard of dress expected during the tournament, referring to pre-existing guidance for dress in a staff handbook.
Fair play: Avoid possible harassment claims by creating the right football atmosphere in the office by ensuring supporters of all national teams are treated fairly and deter staff from being abusive about colleagues’ teams. They still need to work with each other after the tournament.
Red card: Alcohol in the workplace during working time could lead to an unsafe working environment, particularly where operating machinery or other heavy equipment is concerned. In the office it can also create a hostile environment or raise emotions which could be deemed to be harassment so clearly outline what behaviour will be tolerated.
Show respect: Not all staff will be taking an interest in the tournament so ensure due considerate is shown to them.
An early booking: Avoid staff calling in sick, make it clear you won’t tolerate staff taking ‘sickies‘ during the World Cup and if possible encourage staff to take a day off on or after a key game. But ensure all staff are treated equitably. See the article Cut out World Cup sickies.
‘As the excitement builds it is important to manage staffing issues in a diplomatic, yet firm manner,’ explains James Tait, an employment specialist at Shakespeares. ‘Employers don’t want to be seen as killjoys but it is important to ensure the business continues to operate effectively. The most sensible way of dealing with the World Cup is to pre-empt the issues which your workforce might face, clearly set out what level of conduct will be tolerated and make sure that staff are aware of what standards are expected throughout the forthcoming weeks.’