Should an employer encourage practical jokes or pranks in the workplace?

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

It depends. The use of humor in the workplace can boost collaboration and provide a much-needed break from workplace stress. However, targets of pranks or practical jokes may not find them particularly funny. Employers should promptly discipline any offensive or improper conduct on the part of employee pranksters. Regardless of whether an employer sanctioned the conduct, it may face greater liability risks with respect to bullying, harassment, constructive discharge or negligence claims.