Awareness and prevention
Information and resources
If this question has not occurred to you it probably should according to experts who are concerned about the impact changes in the gambling environment could be having on your workplace.
Experts say with today's smart phones and tablets, punters can bet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from home, 'on the go' and yes, even from work.
And with an estimated one in 100 employees likely to have a gambling problem there is no room for any employer to assume it can't happen to them.
Most of the time gambling is a harmless recreational activity and most workplaces organise social gambling activities like footy tipping and Melbourne Cup sweeps but the changing face of gambling can mean it's becoming more of an issue for workplaces.
Today, employees might be using workplace computers, or company provided tablets and smart phones to gamble.
Whether an employer knows employees are gambling, or even sanctions it, may be a moot point but it might also form the basis for legal action against an employer according to a senior associate in workplace law.
Joel Zyngier, a senior associate with Holding Redlich specialising in workplace law says employers should assume gambling is taking place in their workplace, and take steps to avoid it becoming a problem.
There are three ways out of control gambling can have an impact on the workplace including: reducing productivity, increasing absence, theft and fraud.
Every employer in Victoria has a duty of care under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health – both physical and psychological health. But what does this mean in the context of gambling?
According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a gambling disorder is a behavioural addiction which can result in psychological harm. This psychological harm represents a health and safety risk to employees, creating an obligation on employers to address gambling in the workplace.
To fulfil their duty of care, an employer should eliminate or reduce the likelihood of problem or risky gambling at work, as much as possible.
It makes sense to protect the workplace and the employer against potential legal action, as well as to protect the workplace and employees against the negative impacts outlined above.
When addressing gambling in the workplace, HR practitioners can
The policy may be similar to those already developed for the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace and should be informed by the particular circumstances of each individual workplace.
For further information on how gambling can affect your workplace and what you can do:
On a final note, having now personally witnessed the devastation that problem gambling creates, managing workplace gambling is not just about managing workplace risks, it's about adding another protective layer over your most valuable resource, your people.
CEO, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
Former CEO Australian Human Resources Institute