Crappy or Happy? How to Halloween at Work...

Oct 21, 2013

Nearly 40% of employees enjoy celebrating Halloween with co-workers. What one employee finds funny & creative, another may deem hurtful or offensive.  Then there’s you, the small business owner caught in the middle.
Sounds great, right?  Not so much...


The situations that come to mind are often race or religion-related. As discussed in an article by the Society for Human Resource Management (10/17/2013), "there's always the chance someone will show up as a stripper or in a drag costume that marks the transgender community or in a get-up that insinuates that Muslims are terrorists."

There's also the chance an employee may desire to dress as another employee, their manager, or you, the business owner. This is the opportunity for you to create very clear guidelines as to what is acceptable and appropriate.
Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts  to limit your liability while still enjoying Halloween:
Courtesy of Society for Human Resource Management (10/17/2013)

  • Clearly communicate costume guidelines in advance.
  • Provide examples of inappropriate costumes for the workplace, such as costumes that exaggerate body parts, those that reveal too much of the body, men and women dressed as the opposite sex, terrorist get-ups, or ethnic-, religious- or race-based costumes.  
  • Caution employees of hospitals or other health care organizations that images of ghosts, graves, skeletons and blood don’t go over well in health care settings.  
  • Request that workers avoid donning political costumes that could be offensive.
  • Make sure desk and other office decorations don’t violate fire or safety codes. If some find them offensive, consider keeping them confined to a small part of the office.
  • Consider whether costumes might seem unprofessional on employees who interact with customers.
  • In some industries, such as manufacturing and warehousing, costumes can jeopardize safety.
  • If Halloween offends some workers, offer to let them work at home or take the day off. 

DONE!  Easy right?  Call us for help!

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