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The office holiday party has become so ubiquitous (and tales of some parties so outrageous) that Hollywood has now honored them with the aptly named "Office Christmas Party." As fun as the movie looks, any boss will tell you they'd rather sacrifice a little fun to avoid embarrassing behavior and potential lawsuits.
So with office holiday party season in full swing, here are a few pointers on keeping your celebration fun, safe, and legal.
Of course you're worried about your staff's behavior, but did you think about the guests they might bring? Here's how to handle plus-ones, interns, and contractors, as well as a few other tips.
Familiarity, fun, and a few fizzy drinks can lead to flirtation at the office party. While having feelings for a coworker may be inevitable, how employees act on those feelings is not. Keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum or at least manageable amount is probably the biggest factor to consider, and make sure your employees are adequately aware of the consequences for their actions.
Even if most of your employees celebrate Christmas, you want to create as inclusive of a party environment as possible. You can either keep your holiday decorations religion-neutral or provide space for all employees to have their holiday traditions respected. (Even if it's Festivus.)
I know -- this all sounds like more trouble than it's worth. So should you just scrap the office party this year? It might be a good idea to consider the increased costs and liability, the possibility of giving gifts rather than bonuses, as well as your corporate morale before making a decision one way or the other.
And stay away from egg nog chugging contests. Everyone loses, especially your office cleaning crew.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.