Did you place someone’s stapler in Jell-O or possibly tell your colleague to come to work in a Hawaiian shirt today? While you might pull some light-hearted pranks this April Fools' Day, make sure to consider the possible repercussions if a prank were to go awry.
Your intentions might be to relieve some stress, boost teamwork, increase creativity or simply to get a good laugh, but some situations can cause damage to someone’s health, property or even their job. Avoid pranks that can be considered vandalism and destruction of personal property, which are no joke. There’s a fine line between a harmless prank and felonious property damage. Here are a few pranks to avoid and ways to avoid damages from April Fools' Day.
False Memos and Deadlines – Avoid causing your colleagues, family and friends unnecessary stress. In 2004, a general manager of London city hall was on vacation on April 1st when he received a note from his coworkers that a big report was due in two weeks. He cut his vacation short and got to work. His stress to meet his new deadline resulted in heart palpitations, and it wasn’t until he was recovering that he learned the deadline was a joke. The manager did not find the prank humorous and sued for health damages.
The Classic “Peek-A-Boo” - Your clever idea to hide in a closet, behind a couch or maybe in the refrigerator, and attempt to scare a friend could lead to complications. If your friend becomes startled and falls or hurts themselves on your property, you could be liable. As a result, you could be responsible to paying their medical expenses or even legal damages if they decide to sue. That’s a hefty price to pay for a simple joke.
Don’t Cry Wolf - Faking a fire or robbery is a quick way to lose your job or work your family and friends into a stressed state. In 2003, a women working in a clothing store decided to play a joke on her boss. She called him saying the store was being robbed by armed men. The manager immediately called the police who were not amused when they arrived at the store. The worker was charged with inducing a panic and fired by her manger.
Protect Your Property - April Fools' Day is often a day for vandalism- that includes damages to cars including egging, Saran wrap or even broken windows. Keep your vehicle off the street and keep it locked and parked in the garage. If your vehicle is vandalized, contacting your insurance agent will help you find out if the damage is covered under your policy.
When you plan your next trick, remember these situations to protect yourself and those involved. For some fun, safe ways to trick your family and friends, consider these easy April Fools' Day Pranks.