First off, let me say that I’m really
obsessed with enjoying this year’s World Cup.
But Thursday presents some special problems for employers. The United States Men’s Team has a very important game at 12 ET. Right in the middle of the lunch hour (or two?). Beat or tie Germany and the U.S. is through to the next round. Lose, and they have to hope on the results of another game at the same time.
Apparently, the team enjoys having the support of lots of U.S. supporters. So, the coach drafted a note for employees to give to their employers tomorrow.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 25, 2014
Take a recent case reported out of Canada. An employee asked for a day off to play in a softball tournament. When his request was denied, he still took a sick day off. I’ll let a recent blog post take it from there:
Suspicious that he was not actually sick, the Grievor’s manager had attended the ball diamonds where he witnessed the Grievor playing baseball. When confronted, the Grievor stated that he was suffering from a severe case of diarrhea on the day in question and was not playing baseball. The Grievor later admitted to being at the baseball diamonds when confronted with the fact that someone had seen him there; however he stated that he was only watching. The Grievor subsequently admitted to playing, but minimized his involvement on the basis that he was “only pitching”.
Ultimately, the employee’s termination was upheld by a local court — but not until after an arbitrator found that the termination was overly harsh.
For employers, make sure your employees know the rules that must be followed. And certainly, productivity will require many employees to work during this time. But it’s also around the time for lunch, so if a few of them straggle back to their desks a little slowly, put that tardiness under some perspective. If you don’t discipline employees from coming back from lunch late on a “nice” day, then follow that same approach here.
I’ve previously discussed it a few weeks ago, but it bears repeating again. The soccer game last week was among the most watched soccer games EVER in the United States. No doubt a few of them are going to watch it on their phones, or televisions at work on Thursday. Be prepared.