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Seattle Seahawks Headed for a Second Straight Super Bowl Victory? Yes, According to Unemployment Statistics; No, According to Lion…and Other Notes for Employers in Advance of the Big Game

Predicting the Super Bowl victor used to be easy. You just looked at the city with the lower unemployment rate and who Elijah that lovable orangutan picked and you called it a day. Elijah had picked seven straight Super Bowls and 21 out of the last 26 winning cities had a lower unemployment rate.  But we have a problem this year.

I am sad to report that Elijah passed away in September, and Elijah’s first-time replacement, Vulcan the Lion, has picked the Patriots, while Seattle’s unemployment rate (4.2) is one tenth of a point lower than Foxborough’s unemployment rate (4.3). If only we had some sort of tie breaker…or ten of them. Maybe we should turn to the National Weather Service to make the prediction.

Anyways…on a more serious note, employers should consider the following as we head into Super Bowl weekend:

  1. Nearly 1.5 million employees will not show up to work on the Monday after the Super Bowl and 4.4 million will be late, costing you millions of dollars in lost productivity. Therefore, you may want to consider providing an appropriate warning to your employees today about your attendance expectations come Monday morning.
  2. Sports gambling is illegal under Federal law and in most states. However, it remains unclear whether Federal law and many of these state laws apply their bans to Super Bowl box pools. The most conservative approach therefore, is to ban box pools in the workplace. The second most conservative approach is to allow your workers to participate in a box pool for free, with the winner collecting a prize. However, we recognize that this is not realistic, and thus, we note that if you permit your employees to participate in an office Super Bowl box pool that:

- all of the money in the pool goes to the winner(s) or a charitable organization (i.e. the “house” does not receive any of the proceeds);

- there is a maximum amount an employee can wager (like a $20 entry fee or $5 per box);

- the pool is limited to a certain number of people with pre-existing relationships (co-workers only);

- the box pool is limited by office so that it won’t “cross state lines” into other offices; and

- employees understand they may be disciplined if they require or pressure another employee to participate.

Enjoy the game everyone.

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