We are already in the festive period, and one thing this period is known for is its numerous parties and get-togethers. Many organizations will be throwing parties for their employees. The holiday party season is usually a season where employers take out time to appreciate their employees for the efforts they have put in throughout the year.
In 2021 especially, many businesses worked virtually. Throwing a holiday party would finally provide an opportunity for employees to get together and catch up on the events of the year. However, as an employer, it is vital to have specific measures in place to ensure that you do not leave a trail of legal hangovers in your wake.
Steps to a Hassle-Free Office Holiday Party
Having a hassle-free holiday party is possible if you know how to go about it. As an employer, taking the steps outlined below will help ensure that you do not end up with legal hangovers on your hands.
#1. Set Standard Rules of Behavior
It is not enough to plan and gather you employees for a holiday party. It is also vital to have standard rules governing behavior while individuals are on the party premises. Spelling out the rules to your employees will help regulate people’s behavior while the party is ongoing.
While the event in question is a party, it is also technically an extension of the workplace. You should, therefore, make clear to your employees the expectations you have and standards of acceptable behavior you expect them to adhere to. Where necessary, employers should spell out sanctions that would occur if someone does not follow the rules.
#2. Access the Possible Risks Involved
One of the things that you have to consider and plan for is measures to keep your employees safe. While office an end-of-the-year party may seem important, the safety and health of the employees should also be a top priority.
As an employer, you should have a risk assessment test to avoid after-party litigations for negligence. In running the risk assessment, check out the venue to ensure it is safe for the party. Run a check on the fire alarms to ensure they are working properly and identify items that can be hazardous to people.
Additionally, make adequate arrangements for first aids if an emergency were to arise. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, employees should also provide safety measures in adherence to stipulated guidelines. It would also not be out of place to have a National Health Safety Covid pass check required for entrance.
#3. Keep a Closed Mouth
Keeping a closed mouth during the party as an employer is vital because your employees will likely hold you responsible for any promise made. A holiday season party naturally puts everyone in high spirits. So, while the party lasts, try as much as possible not to make promises that you will not be able to keep.
Employees may see such promise as a contractual agreement binding on the employer. Cases are more common than expected where employees sued their employers for promises made while partying. You would not want to have a series of litigations after the party, so it is best to watch what you say.
#4. Keep It Down on Alcohol and Drugs
Refusing to serve unlimited free alcohol is to your advantage as an employer. Since the holiday party is an extension of the workplace, you may be held liable for the conduct of your employees. Therefore, you can employ trained servers who will evaluate the intoxication level of each employee before deciding on whether to serve them alcohol or not.
According to the misuse of drug act provisions, employers are expected to ensure restriction in the use of controlled drugs within their premises. Bearing that in mind, employers should sanction employees misusing drugs during the holiday party.
#5. Make Pick Up Arrangements
Remember that the party is not yet over until your employees are all safely back home. Agreeably, it is not your responsibility to make transport arrangements for employees. However, if you notice that an employee has taken too much drink, you need to intervene and ensure they get home safe.
If employees are caught driving drunk after a holiday work party, the employer may be held liable. Taking time to see that everyone gets home safely is for your good.
Do not forget to remind your employees that their PTO days do not carry over into the New Year. The holiday season marks the end of the year for many organizations. Some of these organizations do not write off unused leave at the end of each business year.
A subtle reminder to your employees to use up their annual leave entitlement will save you time trying to explain. It is always best to have your holiday policy written down and accessible to all the employees. A holiday policy will help ensure that all the employees know what you expect of them.