Vegas conference...asking for trouble?

We have several employees attending an upcoming conference in Vegas - a popular place now for conferences. Given the reputation and reality of Vegas as a place for gambling, strip bars, partying, etc., where should one draw the line for their employees? Should we be concerned with what they are doing in the evenings after the conference has ended for the day considering we are paying for them to be there - or should they have free reign? We are a somewhat conservative company and would rather our employees did not take part in the gambling and strip bars. Do we have a right to prohibit these activities?


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  • i don't think that you can really control your employees' behavior after hours. in general, i think that what they do in their free time is their business, unless they're breaking the law. but, if they are going to after-hours events sponsored by the conference or where other conference attendees may be, your ethics/conduct code might kick in so that the employees don't do anything that would harm your company's reputation.

  • I agree with countrygirl and you might want to check your state laws too.  Some states say you can't discriminate because of what employees do outside of work -- as long as it's legal!
  • But what if several male employees go to a strip bar and the female employees don't feel comfortable going. Will they be precluded from business networking that might take place? Is this setting the company up for a lawsuit?

  • Since these are legal activities - I agree that you cannot limit the employees in off-work time. However, since a lot of organizations have employees at trade shows wearing "company" shirts (with logos, etc), you may want to ask employees to only wear such shirts on company time, or to change ASAP after leaving the conference. There is no point in advertising that your employees frequent strip clubs, especially in an evironment where potential clients are also present. Note - however, that you CAN prohibit employees from taking clients to such places, especially when they are expensing the cost. I think that for most every business, the day of the strip club entertaining is OVER!!!
  • I think you have to differentiate here between who is involved in the activities. If a male manager asks two of the men attending the conference from the company if they want to go see a strip show, then any female employees on the trip will be in the position of either (1) being excluded from a social activity planned by the manager on a work-related trip; or (2) being invited to go and having to choose between the opportunity to socialize with the manager and saying no because the activity is not appropriate. I think this would be a problem for the company. In addition, even if it is after hours, if a manager or coworker engages in harassing conduct (not all that uncommon when alcohol is involved), then the company may have a problem.
  • It's no secret why these conferences are held in places like Las Vegas, or Orlando, or other warm weather destinations with a lot of options for spending your "free" time as an attendee once the day time sessions are over.  That's part of the attraction, at least, for employees who are going voluntarily.  With all there is to do and see in Vegas, from a conference organizers perspective, it doesn't get any better in terms of appeal....

    At any rate, I wouldn't worry too much about how employees will spend their time after "work"/conference attendance any more than I would worry about a group of employees going out after work in your home town.  If we're saying that an enviornment where stip clubs and casinos are more easily accessible is going to turn people who are normally well-behaved into party animals,  then that's giving the backdrop of the conference a little too much credit in my opinion. 

    You've got to work on the assumption that your employees can handle it unless proven otherwise--if you are planning to send anyone with a track record of questionable ethical behavior, well then yes, maybe there's cause for concern.  But aside from that, I'd propose treating your adult employees as responsible adults until given reason not to.


  • Your travel/entertainment policy should forbid entertaining clients at clubs where there is sexually explicit entertainment, which could be viewed as harassment by someone attending or a hostile environment for someone refusing to attend.

    You can also say that receipts from such clubs will not be compensated.

    Don't think anyone would be stupid enough to try to put gambling money on an expense account--it's their own money on their own time.

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