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Tip of the Month – Keeping Office Holiday Parties Safe, Fun, and Liability-Free

Last month we talked about company holiday parties and making sure your social networking policies prevent embarrassing pictures from getting online.  Now we want to give you tips, as we do every year, about how to minimize liability at company parties.

Last year, we gave you a list of tips on how to keep holiday parties safe and fun.  We just want to highlight the two biggest concerns and make sure you are still thinking about them this year. 

The first big concern is that drunk employees will get into a car accident and hurt themselves or others.  Regardless of the issue of legal liability, you do not want to jeopardize the safety of anyone out on the roads.  Consider things like a cash bar, a voucher system for alcoholic beverages, or arranging a transportation system (i.e. a taxi service, or having designated drivers).

The other big concern is that holiday parties are fertile ground for harassment allegations.  Remind employees that even if the holiday party is off-site and during non-work hours, your company’s sexual harassment policies still apply. 

Also, try and discourage after-parties.  An employer might still be seen as responsible for conduct at an after-party, especially if managers or supervisors are in attendance.  Employees may let their guard down even more at an after-party leading to instances of sexual harassment or excessive drinking.

We wish everyone a happy holiday season.  We offer assistance to management on these and all types of employment-related issues.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.