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Halloween is just around the corner and this year many workplaces are engaging in virtual Halloween festivities.

As employment lawyers, we wanted to provide some tips and tricks to help employers get their employees into the Halloween spirit while keeping them safe and happy.

Make it OK to Ghost the Party

When planning your Halloween festivities, keep in mind that while Halloween is largely celebrated as a secular holiday, religious discrimination can still be a concern.

To ensure that Halloween events and activities do not prompt claims of religious discrimination, employers should consider:

  • Making it clear that events are intended to be secular in nature;
  • Making sure employees do not feel compelled to participate in any Halloween themed events;
  • Prohibiting retaliation against any employee who refuses to participate in any Halloween-themed events.

Don’t Make the Costumes Too Spooky

A fun way to get into the Halloween spirit, especially in a virtual workplace, is to dress in costume.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that employees in Ontario are entitled to a safe workplace that is free from any kind of harassment, discrimination, or bullying.

Employers should urge employees to be mindful when choosing costumes that they are still expected to comply with any workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

If the workplace typically requires a dress code, employers permitting Halloween costumes should announce that, while employees may dress up, they should use sensible judgment.

Certain work environments will also need to be considered. For example, costumes for healthcare professionals working with patients that conjure thoughts of death or injury, and excessively scary costumes in places catering to children, should be reconsidered.

Keep Goblins and Ghouls Safe

Make sure your employees stay safe during any Halloween celebration. Costumes can potentially create a safety hazard in some workplaces. For instance, loose-fitting costumes or those with pieces that hang away from the body can be dangerous to employees working with heavy machinery or driving a vehicle.

While spooking your co-workers in person or via Zoom can be fun, attempts to frighten coworkers can potentially result in injury. Employers who wish to avoid workers’ compensation claims and complaints should remind employees to dress with safety in mind.

Although Halloween is different this year, we hope you find a way to create something memorable with your team. If you have any questions about workplace safety, harassment, bullying or discrimination, please contact Toronto employment lawyers Sultan Lawyers by calling 416-214-5111 or here.

We hope that everyone has a Happy Halloween this weekend!

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