One million dollars every year for the rest of your life. Would be nice, right?! According to Warren Buffet, he’s happy to pay out if one of his employees correctly picks all the teams to make it to the NCAA’s Sweet 16. Double your winnings if Creighton or Nebraska wins the tournament! Odds of the perfect bracket are only 1 in 9.2 quintillion (yes, that’s a real number!). Totally doable. Regardless of the odds, I think it’s safe to say that Berkshire Hathaway supports employee participation in March Madness.
Question is, should you?
I’ll quote the most frustrating answer given by every attorney out there, “It depends.” Let’s explore some of the most common questions so you can make an informed decision on what is best for your company.
Well, let’s be honest. No – it’s not legal. At least in most states, it’s technically prohibited. On the federal level there are at least three laws that are violated when you enter an online pool. Many states also have laws against it, although some (such as PA) have carved out statutory exceptions under which it is permissible.
Will your manager be seen escaping out the back door on the next episode of Cops? Extremely unlikely. It’s a pretty common consensus that law enforcement priorities are better spent elsewhere and that these laws are rarely upheld due to the widespread popularity.
“March 2013 poll by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the NCAA tournament was among the top events for which organizations reported having office pools in 2013 (36 percent). More than two-thirds (70 percent) of HR professionals said that such pools have a positive impact on relationship building, 64 percent said they promote team building, and 54 percent said they increase employee engagement.”
If you allow participation in March Madness, there are a few tips we can give that will help your employees stay closer to the legal side of things. By establishing a workplace policy or organizing a company sponsored pool, you can establish some parameters and keep your employees productive. Consider the following tips:
No matter what you decide, March Madness is upon us. Plan ahead, communication with your employees, and if you have any questions or need assistance with your policies, reach out to Exodus HR for assistance.