The holiday season is a time to spread cheer and a festive spirit, but some celebrations morph into legal nightmares or workers’ comp claims for employers. Here are 12 tips for a party that is fun and safe:
- Charge your leadership team with setting the tone for responsible and professional behavior.
- Limit or do not serve alcohol. Do not have an open bar. Close the bar at least one hour before the end of the party. Be sure that alcohol is served by a professional bartender or at a licensed establishment that knows when to stop serving an individual. Serve plenty of food. Arrange for no-cost transportation for any employee who should not drive home.
- Be sure workers understand that attendance is voluntary. This should be clearly stated in the invitation and all related communications.
- Hold after work hours and off site, reducing the likelihood the party will be perceived as work related.
- Don’t encourage attendance by either implying attendance will help the employee advance or that failure to attend sends the message the worker isn’t a team player.
- Avoid presentation of awards, bonuses or other recognition that suggest employees are there for business reasons.
- Be cautious about inviting vendors, clients or others with whom you have a business relationship.
- Invite spouses and significant others.
- Remind employees that normal workplace standards of conduct are to be respected. Parties, particularly when alcohol is served, can lead to sexual harassment or discrimination claims. Treat any discrimination or harassment claims seriously and conduct appropriate investigations.
- Don’t allow employees to post company party images/comments on social media outlets without having a policy in place.
- Be sensitive of language and decorations – don’t call it a Christmas party or invite “husbands and wives.”
- Discuss your exposure with your insurance agent.
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