Friday, March 22, 2013

The Harlem Shake in the Office

The Harlem Shake is everywhere.  We’ve had at least one at my law school (Here). If you’ve missed the phenomenon, just click on youtube. But employees have gotten into trouble for engaging in this brief bit of merriment. Here’s a brief excerpt from Corporate Counsel:

Versions of the “Harlem Shake” are being recorded in offices around the country and uploaded to the web. And it’s not only folks working in cubicles: LeBron James and the Miami Heat are doing it. Employees in NASA’s control room are doing it. Even bottles and cans of Pepsi, it seems, can’t resist getting in on the “Harlem Shake” action. The clips feature a now predictable sequence of first one, then a growing cast of costumed characters dancing to the song by Brooklyn deejay Baauer. There are thousands of the 30-second videos on YouTube, and some of them are causing unforeseen aftershocks in the workplace.

In a recent blog post, Ryan Campbell, an associate with Rubin Thomlinson in Toronto, discussed how the Internet meme has presented a host of compliance challenges for businesses.

Earlier this month, more than a dozen miners in Australia were fired for a video of employees doing the dance during work hours. An unnamed worker told the Western Australian the eight miners were just "having a bit of fun," but Agnew Gold Mine said the workers violated safety regulations.

The shake offers us a good opportunity to talk with students about what’s allowed in the workplace and what is not. They should know that efforts to raise the spirits of fellow workers may get them in trouble with the killjoys. Make some inquiries before you act


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