Company holiday parties are a great way to celebrate a successful year and to reward your team members. They give everyone in the company a way to connect outside of company business and offer the potential to meet spouses, do a fun group activity, or enjoy a nice meal. However, these gatherings are also wrought with the potential to be huge liabilities for managers, employees, and company owners.
To help ensure everyone’s dignity, employment, and legal records stay intact, we have three important tips to help you plan a safe and legal holiday party.
Enforce Clear Policies
Whether this is your first work holiday gathering or it is an annual favorite, policies are key. Often times new employees are given handbook spelling out all guidelines for special events. However, this setting can wreak legal havoc on an organization that fails to remind employees of the fine print. Send out a reminder a week before your holiday party and highlight specifics you believe to be important. A team meeting is a great time to have an open discussion on best practices and logistics. Do so a few days before the event takes place.
Monitor Alcohol Consumption
Keeping the risk of injury, harassment, and embarrassment at bay doesn’t mean you must play the role of a parent to employees. A third-party vendor hired to bartend is a safe alternative to a free-for-all or open bar. Professional bartenders may identify those partygoers who may have had too many drinks. Further, it will prevent supervisors or managers from having the pressure to cut the employee off themselves.
Have Exit Strategies
A successful holiday party means nothing if your team doesn’t make it home safely. Whether or not you choose to host your gathering at the office or offsite, there should be a plan in place for employees to leave safely. Managers should seek out prepaid packages with app-based services or cab vouchers. These should be readily available before the event begins. Paying for employees to ride home may prevent major accidents and the potential for DWIs.
Following these simple, yet important, tips will help ensure your party plans are not tarnished by legal troubles before, during, or after your event. If you have specific questions about a party idea, concerns about a specific employee or situation, or want to make sure your company is not inviting excessive risk with its holiday party, you can always consult an attorney prior to the celebration. Having an attorney who is experienced in employment law review your party plans could help you avoid a legal hangover.