Employment Lawyers Love Christmas Parties!

Not our own, our clients.’  In fact, most of us would work for free in December simply for the entertainment value.  Some of the most outrageous personnel issues I’ve dealt with were the result of too much employee holiday cheer.  For example, based on my informal twenty-year survey the three most popular places for employees to “get jolly” at a Christmas party are:

  1. The bosses’ desk
  2. The conference room table
  3. Anywhere else!

Though not foolproof, here are some tips for keeping holiday parties rated “PG:”

  1. Limit the booze.I prefer public venues with trained bartenders.  Employers can give out a couple of vouchers for drinks but everything else should be “no host.”  Wine and beer is much better than hard alcohol.
  2. Remind employees in advance that there is a “business” dress code that also applies to guests (and by “business” I don’t mean strippers)
  3. Do not do “white elephant” gift exchanges (and specifically ban anything from the Déjà vu adult store). In fact, I wouldn’t do any type of gift exchange!
  4. Assign a couple of management-level employees to “work” during the event to help maintain propriety.
  5. Don’t have a Santa unless kids are invited. The last thing you need is a bunch of tipsy employees sitting on some guy’s lap.
  6. Have a definite end to the party. People might stick around after it’s over but employers really need to cut off potential liability early in the evening.
  7. Provide alternative transportation (taxi vouchers, drivers, Uber, etc.)
  8. Treat inappropriate behavior the same way you would if it occurred at the office during the workday.
  9. If you’re the boss, lock your office door! At minimum, rub poison ivy on the top of your desk.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We’ll be back in January with a handful of new party stories!