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Holiday Parties & The Pitfalls for Employers | AMP'D

With holiday festivities in full swing, this time of the year can be an exciting time for many. However, employers should be cautious while hosting celebratory work-related events. Social gatherings can cause potential pitfalls such as over consumption of alcohol, harassment, and lack of inclusiveness. Here are some tips to help your company stay in the clear and make the most of this cheerful season:

Over Consumption of Alcohol – Eggnog or Eggnot?

Like most other social gatherings, overconsumption of alcohol at work related events can lead to all kinds of issues ranging from harassment to injuries. Perhaps consider not having alcohol at all, and if you do, try to limit consumption by sticking with beer or wine and avoiding hard liquor. Employers can also limit alcohol consumption by limiting the hours or number of drinks employees are allowed to consume. Remember, the place and time of the party can affect employee behavior. A weekday event in the daytime or afternoon might prevent employees from getting out of control.

Harassment – Stay Off the Naughty List

It is important to remind your employees that expectations of appropriate workplace behavior are still in place. Steer clear of any possible triggers of bad behavior. Avoid mistletoes or having a Santa at the event and inviting employees to sit on his lap. Consider inviting employees’ significant others or families to encourage the employee’s best behavior. If you haven’t brushed up on anti-harassment training, this is a good time to do so. Don’t know how to execute the training? Don’t worry, we’ve got this! All our clients have access to anti-harassment training. Reach out to your HR team today to get started.

Inclusiveness – Celebrations for Everyone

Instead of dedicating a party to a specific holiday, perhaps the party might be in celebration of the employees. There are many religions that celebrate holidays this time of year, so it is important to be cognitive of the date of the celebration as well as the décor. A diverse planning committee can help with fostering an inclusive environment for all employees. Moreover, making the event voluntary is crucial. Some employees may not want to attend an event that celebrates another religion or be around alcohol. Remember, not all employees consume alcohol – either by choice or for other reasons. Consider offering several nonalcoholic options such as soda or mocktails, so employees who do not want to drink can also feel included and equal. It is essential to not make alcohol the center of the event. You can offer several non-alcohol related activities like decorating contests.

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Any HR advice or deliverable provided in this post is based on advanced knowledge and experience in the human resources field and is not legal advice. While we make every effort to provide best-practice advice that is effective and compliant with various state and federal laws, we are not attorneys; consult with your attorney for the best legal protection for your company.