SCARED WITLESS « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Hold the Line on Over-the-Top Halloween Costumes

All Hallows’ Eve. That spooky time of year when witches, vampires and zombies roam the land. From management’s perspective, however, the scariest Halloween costumes are those which are too revealing or are otherwise offensive to others in the workplace. For example, earlier this year a lingerie website began selling a sexed-up “Brave Red Maiden” costume — a much skimpier version of the clothing worn by oppressed female characters in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” (The website stopped selling it after receiving significant backlash online).

Yet, a little constructive fun does have its place. Properly managed, workplace holiday celebrations can build teamwork and morale. Best practices dictate that an employer should:

  • Plan holidays celebrations in advance to minimize improper conduct.
  • Distribute an email or a notice reminding that employees should dress and act professionally.
  • Never require employees to dress up or participate in Halloween parties.
  • Require appropriate dress at all times in the workplace, even during holidays, to ensure employees do not wear insulting or offensive costumes against other races, cultures, religions, etc.
  • Expect managers and supervisors to set good examples in the workplace.
  • Do not allow alcohol consumption at company celebrations in order to avoid liability for physical injuries incurred or sexual harassment committed by inebriated party-goers.
  • Train managers how to properly enforce the company’s dress code policy without making an employee uncomfortable, such as when discussing whether a female employee’s low-cut top is too revealing.

Happy Halloween!

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For further assistance, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

October 23, 2018