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.
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Policies and Documents
Off-Duty Conduct Policy
Employee Dating and Personal Relationships Policy
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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
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