It's that time of year again. The weather has turned cold, the year is almost over, and it's now time for those year-end holiday parties; company-sponsored or otherwise.
Parties are an excellent tool to bring good times, seasonal cheer, and a much-needed break in the workday to your employees. These holiday parties, however, raise employment issues that all employers need to consider prior to kicking off holiday celebrations.
Holiday Parties are Work
Just because employees are gathering out of the office, does not mean they are not "at work." Employers should review policies on issues such as harassment, retaliation, workplace violence, alcohol use, safety issues, and dress code.
Employers should also ensure managers know how to react to and handle any party-related complaints or inappropriate behavior they might observe. Also, remind employees that this is not time to exchange "gag" gifts which some may find to be offensive.
A Drink Called Danger?
The most common danger at any office party has to do with people drinking too much. Too much liquor can lead to traffic accidents, DUIs and, sometimes, deaths. In addition outside the office and after a few drinks inhibitions drop and inappropriate behavior and harassment can run rampant.
Companies should limit alcohol. One suggestion is to have drink tickets and let people have two drinks each.
An alternative is to have your company party during the week, immediately after the office closes, or throw a lunchtime party. Both reduce the temptation to drink too much.
Remind well-meaning managers who take their teams out for drinks that they can be held personally liable for employee behavior outside the office because it can be deemed a company event.
Is an after-work party a stated or implied requirement? Are you inviting clients that hourly employees are obliged to meet?
The more it looks like work, the more you'll have to pay hourly employees like it's work.
| Worry-Free Parties
Pro Way Development hopes that your year-end parties are fun-filled, and give employees a break and thank them for their hard work all year.
Call us for tips and tools to ensure that your parties are the safe, fun, events you intend them to be.
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Pro Way Development is your source for employee development for business success. Our services include:
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About Laura Jacob
Laura works with companies to ensure that their business plan includes a plan to hire, manage and motivate employees to drive growth.
In addition to holding degrees in Psychology and Industrial Relations, Laura is certified as a Professional
in Human Resources and a 6 Sigma Greenbelt.
she was recognized by Sam's Club and SCORE as one Connecticut's outstanding businesses.