Fantasy sports are a fixture in US culture. Sources cite the exploding popularity of one-day fantasy leagues to have reached an estimated 75M “players.”
The fantasy sports phenomenon is similar to other pop-culture/technological changes in that we frequently don’t anticipate the possible career danger until its right on top of us.
Here at the Career Survival Group, we’re all about recognizing and responding to actual and potential dangers. It does not seem far-fetched that we will soon read about a fantasy sports related scandal at a fire department or other public entity.
Like many scandals, the issue will likely come to light under the intense scrutiny of a law suit or other legal proceeding. This scrutiny will uncover that a group of employees were engaged in fantasy sports related activity while on the tax payer’s dime and using taxpayer equipment.
The best we can do to protect our employees is to clearly state expectations, model those expectations, and swiftly address circumstances when expectations have not been met. This would be an excellent time to clearly state your expectations regarding on-duty participation in fantasy sports. Perhaps something like this:
Fantasy sports have become a significant part of day to day culture. It is important to remember that as an on-duty firefighter you are expected to efficiently use work hours and agency equipment for the sole purpose of accomplishing organizational goals and objectives.
On-duty employees shall not engage or participate in any form of fantasy sports during recognized business hours or during the performance of job-related tasks. Departmental equipment, including but not limited to computers and workspaces, may not be used at any time for the purposes of fantasy sports.