When Staff Make a Pig’s Ear of Horseplay

legal updates

Whilst we agreed that respectful workplace 'banter' should not be banned, employees should have the forethought to think of the reasonably foreseeable consequences that a prank could cause.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Conversation is never dull here but one lunch-time earlier in the week focused on the Employer liability and Employee obligations that were presently facing a certain Premiership football club.  For the situation as I recall went something like this:

Player A (apparently a well known practical joker) placed – for reasons known only to him – a pigs head in the locker of Player B.  Player B was seemingly not offended and sought to put it back to Player A’s locker in the belief that it was he who had pulled the stunt in the first instance.  However, Player B actually placed it in Player C’s locker. Player C, for religious and cultural reasons, was not at all impressed and caused damage to Player A’s car as he too had assumed that Player A (and not Player B) had put it in his locker.

We had much discussion as to the extent of sanctions that we felt were or were not appropriate to each of them and also on some hypothetical situations too.  Amongst many questions that we asked each other was what liability would there be on the employer club if Player C demanded a transfer because of this incident and ended up at a lower league club – would the Premiership Club have to compensate for his inevitable lower wages?  

It was an interesting discussion, the concept of which can impact on any employer. At what point does a ‘joke’ become a disciplinary offence?  What if the person actually offended was never the intended ‘victim’ of the ‘joke’ and what extent of foreseeability of consequence is required? Whilst we agreed that respectful workplace ‘banter’ should not be banned, employees should have the forethought to think of the reasonably foreseeable consequences that a prank could cause. What employee would think it acceptable to bring a pigs head into a shared changing room, where it could have caused offence on a number of different levels?

In light of this Employers should look to set the boundary here. It is important that whilst they cannot cover every eventuality, appropriately drafted and understandable staff policies are in place as regards employee standards, employer expectations and disciplinary processes. Moreover, that they are clearly seen to be in place, imprinted in the minds of all employees and applied fairly and evenly to all.  

The natural movement of direction of our discussion then went into another professional football club, where an unidentified employee defecated in the opposing team’s dressing room pre-match.  The question here was more of how an employer would invoke any sanction if no-one owned up to such an act?  A colleague suggested (presumably in jest) that all players and coaches should be DNA tested!  All well and good but who on earth would put their hand up (in the air) to volunteer for such a job?  After all, there is nothing worse than having to come into work and spend the day going through the motions…..

And at that point luncheon was rapidly terminated.  Sandwiches were no longer attractive and the clich’s were on a downward spiral.  So we rapidly trotted back to our carcase free desks to return to the thankfully more routine of legal matters.

ECSC Group plcMore Secure

On average 55 vulnerabilities are identified daily.

What can I do?

Review your organisations priorities and ask ‘can we afford a breach?’. What do I do during an incident? Who do I involve? When do I involve the ICO?

If you’re unable to answers these questions, you need help from the experts.

Dennis ChapmanIn remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015Read More by this author

Related Legal Updates

When Travel Time Counts As Work

A prudent employer will ensure that the working arrangements, employment policies, or employment contracts clearly define when travel time constitutes paid work time.

Annual Leave for Irregular Hours Workers

The key element here is that the number of worked hours is defined in the contract.

Employment settlements legal advice

We encourage our members to not assume they can reach a mutual understanding with a departing employee.

Extension of Redundancy Protection for Pregnancy and New Parents

Explore the strengthened redundancy protections for new parents with significant amendments to maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave rights, effective from April 2024, ensuring enhanced job security during critical family milestones.

Changes to Flexible Working

Unveil the new landscape of flexible working rights with the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, now granting ‘day-one’ rights to employees and setting a precedent for more adaptable workplace practices effective from 6 April 2024.

New employment legislation effective from 6 April 2024

Enhanced employee rights, offering day-one entitlements to carer’s leave, flexible working arrangements, and extended redundancy protection for pregnant employees and those on family leave.

Wages increasing from 1 April 2024

With effect from 1 April 2024, the hourly rates of pay are…

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.