Who could possibly sully the sainted memory of Thomas Magnum, fictional private investigator and iconic 1980s bon vivant? All 45 of these guys, apparently.
Here’s a quick hit in case you don’t want to follow the link: Bachelor partygoers decided they would take in a baseball game in Detroit between the Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. All 45 partiers (if only I were so well-liked) dressed as television’s best-known Detroit Tigers fan, Magnum, P.I. The fellows must have left their Higginses behind because they weren’t on their best behavior (hijinks during a bachelor party—perish the thought!). Eventually, the Tigers brass kicked all 45 Tom Selleck doppelgängers from Comerica Park.
Their sins? One of them was smoking and others were catcalling women in the crowd (no mention whether all those red Hawaiian shirts also crossed a line). One member of the party despaired that the Tigers ruined everyone’s fun because of a few bad pineapples, but, honestly, who could possibly separate one naughty Magnum from the other 44 angels?
You may be asking, “Matt, this is amusing and all, but what does this possibly have to do with HR?” That’s a fair question. The HR intersection is that employers need to be watching their patrons’ behavior—not just their employees’—to avoid a hostile work environment. Employers can be liable for the harassing conduct of visitors, vendors, and customers just as they can be liable for the actions of supervisors and co-workers. If you are aware that a third party—or third parties, like four dozen Thomas Magnum lookalikes—may be harassing your employees or causing a hostile environment, you have a duty to take prompt remedial action to correct the problem.
So bravo to the Tigers. We don’t know whether the revelry was directed at any team employees, but the team had a problem on its hands and immediately corrected it. Sure, it probably cost them some concession revenue—after all, 45 guys could drink a lot of Old Dusseldorf. Still, you should heed the team’s example and be vigilant of your patrons’ behavior for the benefit of your employees.
In fact, you’ll probably have to be more vigilant. Potential harassers are rarely this loud and in-your-face, and they almost never wear identical, splashy tropical shirts.