Holiday Parties

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

As the year draws to a close, employers across the country begin gearing up for their annual holiday party. This celebratory event typically serves as a way for employers to thank employees for their dedication and hard work. However, too many things can go wrong at the party that instead leave employees feeling demotivated and, under some circumstances, litigious.

On a day-to-day basis in the workplace, an employer works hard to keep issues such as harassment, fighting and accidents at bay. An employer must work equally as hard to ensure the same issues do not ruin an off-duty social event. An employer must also ensure that employees are truly off duty; otherwise, they may have legitimate wage claims. On top of all that, an employer takes on additional risks if it chooses to serve alcohol at the event.

Before throwing a holiday party, employers must be aware of the potential liability issues, take steps to avoid them and understand how to handle them properly if they do arise.


How to Plan an Office Holiday Party

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How to Prevent Harassment

Sexual Harassment - Supervisor Briefing


Discipline an Employee for Off-Duty Behavior

Ensure Employees Are Safe While Driving


How to Make Your Workplace Holiday Party Sparkle With No Legal Hangovers


Avoid Legal Hangovers from Your Office Holiday Party

Policies and Documents

Off-Duty Conduct Policy

Employee Dating and Personal Relationships Policy

Reporting Workplace Injuries Policy

Employment Law Manual

HR Strategy, Management and the Law > Employer-Sponsored Charitable and Social Events

Employee Management > Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct > Office Parties and Work Related Social Functions

Employee Management > Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct > Work Rules Regarding Off-Duty Conduct

Employee Management > Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct > Work Rules Concerning Personal Relationships and Personal Activities

Risk Management - Health, Safety, Security > Workers' Compensation > Employer-Sponsored Recreational Activities

Risk Management - Health, Safety, Security > HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance)

Employee Compensation > Hours Worked

Employee Compensation > Overtime


How do I know if a workplace injury, illness or death gives rise to a workers' compensation claim?

Gross Negligence


Off-Duty Conduct