With the holiday season underway, many businesses are in the midst of planning company-sponsored holiday events. Holiday parties can be a useful tool to recognize and thank employees for their contributions throughout the year. However, if not properly managed, they can create unwanted legal exposure for the company. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help keep the Grinch away:
Limit alcohol availability and consumption. If alcohol is permitted, consider employing a ticketing system to limit the number of drinks available to each guest. Discontinuing the availability of alcohol well in advance of the end of the party will also help ensure the safety of guests. These policies are best enforced by employing professional bartenders at a facility with a valid liquor license.
Maintain and enforce company policies. Remind employees that the employee handbook remains in full effect at all times, including the dress code. Anti-harassment and substance abuse policies should be highlighted as well.
Offer accommodative food options. Expanding the menu to include vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and nut-free offerings helps to promote an inclusive atmosphere.
Make attendance voluntary. By making it clear to all that the event is not mandatory, employers can reduce the risk of potential wage and hour claims.
Don’t “bury your head in the sand.” Stay alert and on the lookout for potential problems. Take immediate action to investigate any complaints and act swiftly and appropriately in taking steps to mitigate the effects of any improper conduct. When in doubt, contact your attorney for assistance in handling any dicey situations.
Taking some basic precautions can help to reduce your company’s risk of a painful “hangover” in the New Year.
Please contact Wright Beamer today if you need assistance in connection with these or other legal issues.