“If I could sum up why I’m committed to the HR Girlfriends community it would come down to because we are ‘….in this together.'”

~Sana’ Rasul, Chief Girlfriend

Q&A: What Do We Do When a Prank Crosses the Line?

It sounds like this prank could have crossed the line into harassment, even though the person who was offended wasn’t necessarily the intended target. As an employer, you have an obligation to prevent and deal with harassment complaints promptly and thoroughly. To that end, follow your standard procedure to investigate the incident and take appropriate action.

Be sure to document every step of your investigation and resulting actions taken so you can show you fulfilled your obligations. Having a clear record will also help you ensure similar situations are handled consistently in the future.

Going forward, you could prohibit pranks of any sort, but if they remain harmless and inoffensive while also inspiring joy in the workplace, a blanket ban might not be necessary. On the other hand, if most employees don’t enjoy the pranks or they’re significantly disruptive to the workplace, it might be time to lay down some new expectations around professionalism. In either case, employees should understand what lines not to cross and that “just having fun” is no excuse for violating company policies.

This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.

Answer from Kyle, PHR:
Kyle is a professional author, editor, and researcher specializing in workplace culture, retention strategies, and employee engagement. He has previously worked with book publishers, educational institutions, magazines, news and opinion websites, nationally-known business leaders, and non-profit organizations. He has a BA in English, an MA in philosophy, and a PHR certification.

Leave a comment

Never miss an opportunity to earn HRCI/SHRM credits, identify a mentor, or connect 1:1 with another HR Girlfriend in your city or across the country.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Author picture

HR Girlfriends™ is a Human Resources networking organization dedicated to advancing the practice and culture of people empowerment. Our team of Girlfriends consult, train, educate, develop, share, promote, and advocate for solutions in the field of human resource management.

Are You IN?
Or Are You OUT?

It’s time you join forces with a community of like-minded peers ready to tackle the issues unique to the women of HR.
  • All
  • Affirmations
  • Career Monday
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor Newsletter
  • HR Certifications
  • HR Compliance
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
All
  • All
  • Affirmations
  • Career Monday
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor Newsletter
  • HR Certifications
  • HR Compliance
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
Career Monday

Career Monday: Expert Job Interview Tips

It’s exciting to make it past the resumé and job application phase. Being invited to a job interview can feel exciting. It can also feel ...
Read More →
HR Q&A

Q&A: Are There Topics We Shouldn’t Talk About During an Interview?

You should avoid asking questions that could be viewed as discriminatory or that infringe on a candidate’s privacy. Essentially, you want to avoid any questions ...
Read More →
Affirmations

Affirmation: I Organize My Priorities Into Separate Bins And Pull Them Out One By One

There is a reliable technique I use to manage my priorities. Using this system helps me organize my life. When I think about my priorities, ...
Read More →
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap