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As the end of the year approaches, it is a common practice of employers to host an annual office
or workplace holiday party. Since holiday parties are fertile ground for harassment complaints and other types of
litigation, here are some tips to consider by employers: 

 

 

  • make holiday gatherings voluntary, not
    mandatory.
  • have a set “end time” for the festivities and
    inform employees that any post-party gatherings are not sanctioned by the
    employer;  
  • if alcohol is served, it is advisable to have
    the party offsite to shift some of the responsibility of serving alcohol to a
    licensed establishment and professional bartenders. 

 

     Additionally, when serving alcohol, consider the following: 

 

  • think about providing drink tickets, rather than
    an open bar, to control consumption;

 

  • serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic
    beverages; 

 

  • arrange for transportation home for any employee
    who appears intoxicated;

 

  • Be considerate of employee diversity.  Not all employees celebrate the same
    holidays, therefore, it is advisable to celebrate the holidays generally,
    rather than focusing on one particular holiday.

 

These are just a few tips to consider when hosting a holiday party for employees.  Office parties are an important way to
celebrate the holidays and show employees they are appreciated.  Above all, use common sense and should events
transpire which lead to an employee complaint, take all such complaints
seriously and investigate. 

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