Office Holiday Parties

Avoiding Unhappy Office Holiday Parties

Avoiding Unhappy Office Holiday Parties

Everyone loves a good company holiday party. They’re usually a fun way to unwind with your peers in a non-work environment, but sometimes these situations can take a quick turn for the worse. From sexual advances to drunken car rides home, holiday cheer can quickly turn into fear when you realize your job may now be on the line due to an irresponsible act.

There’s always going to be risks when hosting parties where alcohol is involved. In fact, according to a recent study conducted on employers, 36 percent of holiday party-goers behave poorly at their company parties. A lot of companies have chosen to go as far as to nix alcohol from holiday parties all together.

Therefore, here are some recommendations on how employers and employees can avoid the unhappiest of holiday parties and lawsuit-filled New Years:

  • If you choose to opt out of serving alcohol, celebrate by hosting a catered lunch at the office.
  • Be sure to allow each person a guest, whether it be a spouse or significant other. These guests could serve as “adult babysitters” to make sure the employee does not act out of line.
  • Have food and non-alcoholic drinks readily available. Food helps to absorb alcohol and the non-alcoholic drinks will serve as an alternative for those who would rather stay sober.
  • Consider serving just wine, beer and/or non-alcoholic drinks. These are not as harsh as hard liquor and will all pair nicely with dinner parties as well.
  • Just say “no” to open bars! Unlimited booze rarely brings about any good decisions, so instead opt for a cash bar or ticket system.
  • As an employer, it is important to remind your managers that they are there to assist you in making sure the party runs smoothly. They can serve as extra eyes to make sure the subordinates are behaving accordingly.
  • As we all know, inhibitions are lowered after alcohol has been consumed. People say and do things they typically would not have had they not been drinking. In cases where alcohol will be served at the party, remind employees that work conduct is still in force and disciplinary actions will be taken if employees are to act unruly.
  • Don’t hire within! Hire a professional bartender. They have the proper training when it comes to identifying people who are and aren’t of age, measuring drinks and knowing when someone has had too much.
  • Have a taxi service or hotel rooms available that are of no-cost to the employee.
  • This may sound silly, but never, under any circumstance, hang mistletoe! As mentioned in No. 4, inhibitions tend to get lowered when people are intoxicated, and the last thing you want to see at the company holiday party is two co-workers letting loose under a green plant hanging from a doorway.

For more information about office parties and avoiding a lawsuit, please visit www.laborlawyers.com.

 

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Shayna Balch

About Shayna Balch

Shayna H. Balch is an associate at Fisher & Phillips LLP in Phoenix where she handles matters across all facets of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, preventive counseling, employee training, personnel policies and employment agreements. She is also an incoming member of the Valley of the Sun Human Resources Board of Directors in 2012 and currently serves as chairperson of the organization’s Legislative Action Committee, where she is focused on educating members about current and pending legislative changes as well as influencing the legislative process by bringing the voice of human resource professionals to lawmakers. For more information, please visit www.laborlawyers.com.