The Frightening Consequences of Halloween
A surprising number of UK firms are following the American tradition of celebrating Halloween in the workplace.
Could Halloween events and dressing up in Halloween costumes land companies in hot water?
57,000 people in the UK identify as Pagan and employers must take care not to single them out for their beliefs. Halloween has great significance for Pagans and they may feel their beliefs are being mocked.
The Equality Act 2010 specifically prohibits discrimination against anyone on the grounds of religion.
In Holland v Angel Supermarket Ltd and another, a Wiccan employee who claimed she was mocked and later dismissed after switching her shifts to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve won a claim for religion or belief discrimination.
When it comes to fancy dress, this can also have its own pitfalls. If fancy dress is compulsory and a person is made to wear something which holds them, or their beliefs, up for ridicule they could justifiably bring a claim against an employer.
Employers should be wary of Halloween-related misconduct (see last month’s article on banter in the workplace) and inappropriate posts on social media, which might bring their company into disrepute.