3 Cheers for Holiday Parties! 5 Rules for Limiting Employer Liability!

Throwing a company holiday party? You’ll want to establish some ground rules.

Of course, we have our own such “guidelines” – gleaned from years of experience – for making sure things don’t get out of hand: clear out the mistletoe. Lock up the supply closets. Unplug the self-tweeting Xerox machine. Don’t let that tall guy from accounting mix up a batch of his “special” egg nog…

But holiday parties should be enjoyable for everyone, even the employers and managers who host them. And so, from labor and employment lawyers on JD Supra:

1. Limit the libations:

“Let’s say that you are … a business owner and have a voluntary ‘company’ party for your employees… Make sure that your guests don’t have too much to drink this Holiday season, and, if they do, make sure that they have a safe ride home. It’s not only good sense, it’s good insurance sense too.” (McNees Wallace & Nurick)

2. Reinforce the rules:

“Remind employees that all company policies and procedures, including social media policies and anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policies, continue to apply equally at holiday parties and off–site events. Employees tend to ‘let loose’ at holiday parties, so consider sending a company-wide memo reminding employees of company expectations regarding proper decorum, appropriate attire, and professional conduct. Designate multiple supervisors to monitor and address inappropriate behavior.” (Akerman)

3. Don’t make it mandatory:

“It is not really a party if you are forced to go. You should not make holiday parties a requirement to show team work, be part of the group, or provide special benefits for those who are planning or attending the party.” (Davis Brown)

4. Open the door to others:

“Invite spouses, significant others, families and important clients. Inviting employees’ families and the company’s important clients and others with whom the company conducts business can change the atmosphere of a company party and discourage inappropriate behavior.” (Snell & Wilmer)

5. Hire professional help:

“Hire bartenders. Even if you have an open bar, let only professional bartenders serve (and control) the alcoholic drinks. Never let a supervisor pour drinks.” (Lowenstein Sandler)

The updates:

Related reading:

Find related law news on Twitter: @Labor_Law