Workplace pranks are illegal under The Workplace Pranks at Work Act 1974. It’s of the utmost importance you ensure employees DO NOT engage in any form of fun or jollification during working hours.
This is because even the most innocuous workplace prank can result in anarchy, death, destruction, severe injury, employment tribunals, and the apocalypse.
As such, you should put in place stringent policies to block ALL pranks. Including that one where everyone puts post-it notes on someone’s desks.
The Types of Pranks at Work
To obliterate pranks, first you need to understand pranks. As such, we have created this list of items to document the nature of workplace tomfoolery:
- Photocopying buttocks with the photocopier
- Sticking sticky notes all over colleague’s work station
- Performing knock, knock, ginger on the boss’ office door
- Attaching tripwire before stairwells
- Wrapping clingfilm over toilet bowls (plus, see how to use the toilet at work)
- Saying, “Come over here to the window and look at this giraffe!”
- Removing “Wet Floor” signs to invoke humourous slipping
- Throwing banana peels everywhere to invoke further humourous slipping
- Inviting mass murderers into the office
- Setting the workplace premises on fire
- Bringing atom bombs into work
Some employees may watch episodes of Trigger Happy TV for prank ideas. As such, you should BAN with immediate effect any watching of Trigger Happy TV.
The Laws Regarding Pranks at Work
The Workplace Pranks at Work Act 1974 is clear in its stance on practical jokes in the working environment. The Act states on page 456 in section 566 (a):
“It does not matter if employees feel like work is ‘getting them down’, the reality is they are there to make you, the employer, rich. They ARE NOT there to engage in screwball antics.
Thus, covering a desk in sticky notes, photocopying their buttocks, and/or sellotaping a colleague’s desk drawers shut—no.
No. Employees are employed to perform tasks that result in revenue. And there are no records available of an employee’s photocopied buttocks resulting in record profits. Crack down on mavericks with magnificent violence until all staff maintain a robotic-like infatuation with completing work with almost zero engagement amongst colleagues.”
However, there are various other Acts to account for the various pranks available to your employees. These include:
- The Photocopying Employee Buttocks at Work Act 1974
- The Sticky Notes on Desks in Abundance (Miscellaneous) Act 1974
- The Knock, Knock, Ginger at Work Act 1974
- The Murderers in the Workplace Act 1974
And etc. Additionally, there’s The Death and Destruction Due to Pranks at Work Act 1974 that consolidates the above Acts into one Super Act.
In the Super Act, there’s an important 5,310 page chapter dedicated to photocopied buttocks at work, outlining the rules. One section reads, verbatim:
“It is common for employees to photocopy their buttocks during the Christmas party. This is due to a mixture of:
a) Drunken merriment
To ensure buttocks are not photocopied during the Christmas party, ensure there is no drunkenness and/or merriment. To achieve this desirable outcome, abstain from providing alcohol at the event.
Instead, have everyone play hopscotch and be sent home at 7pm for an early night.”
Outside of drunken partying, it’s most common for disgruntled or drunk employees to photocopy their backsides at work.
Conduct a workplace survey to find out which employees these are. The survey can ask questions such as:
- “Are you a disgruntled employee?”
- “Are you planning to photocopy your buttocks at work anytime soon?”
The ones who answer positively (i.e. “Yes!”) to the above questions should face instant dismissal.
Weeding Out Workplace Pranksters
One of the best ways to avoid pranks at work is to avoid recruiting employees who enjoy indulging in pranks.
To achieve this desired outcome, you should structure your hiring strategy to weed out pranksters early on. During first-stage phone calls, you’re legally allowed to ask direct questions such as:
- “Do you enjoy pranks?”
- “Do you enjoy pranks at work?”
- “Have you ever photocopied your buttocks at work?”
- “What do you think about sticky notes, outside of a purely work-based scenario?”
You should also perform a detailed background check into each job candidate, right back to how they were behaving at primary school.
If they have a history of messing about as far back as 1991, then you can rest assured the candidate is a troublemaker and isn’t worth the time of day.
If a job candidate asks why they’ve been rejected early on, you can use the below generic email template to politely inform them:
“Dear [candidate’s name],
Thank you for your request to learn more about why you are such a tragic failure in the eyes of our business.
Upon performing a detailed background check, we found that your summer school report from 1989 indicated you have a penchant for pulling down your mates’ trousers during playtime and throwing mud at your teachers and blaming it on problem children. And then denying it when confronted.
Therefore, we had concerns about your professionalism in the working environment. Please be aware, it is of concern for us if you are attending meetings with our CEO, only to yank down his pants. This is not how we wish to conduct business as of 2022. Nor will we change this policy in 2023, 2024, or for the foreseeable future.
We wish you the best of luck with your future endeavours and would like to thank you again for taking the time to apply for the role of Senior Shouty Person.
Sue Sueson, Head of HR
If the job candidate attempts to protest against your rejection, you should send a hired heavy around to his/her home to ruff him/her up a bit.