A national holiday trend may or may not be coming to a slow decline...

The tradition of the "office holiday party" has officially kicked of it's season, and the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business is advising its members to keep celebrations safe by watching out for two problem areas: 

1. drunk driving
2. harassment

Friends celebrating New Year's Eve
Credit: Thinkstock

In order to prevent drunk driving, the NFIB is suggesting that employers incorporate the following at the holiday party, in order minimize the risk of liability:

  • Use professional bartenders, and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears intoxicated.
  • Distribute drink tickets to limit the number of free drinks.
  • Serve lots of free food to soak up the alcohol.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to be on the look-out for people who have had too much to drink and unable to drive or need assistance getting home.
  • Pay for cabs to take impaired employees and guests home or offer designated drivers.

Now for the issue that's been sweeping the nation and is on everyone's minds lately: Harassment-- Apparently, socializing, alcohol, and mistletoe aren't a good combo. Together they create an environment that can lead to sexual harassment or fighting. So in order to avoid these situations:

  • Remind employees about company anti-harassment policies before the party (aka common sense)
  • If your business does not have an anti-harassment policy, get one!
  • Don’t hang mistletoe.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to intervene and stop any fighting or inappropriate conduct witnesses or reported.
  • Finally, make sure that all employees understand that a holiday party is a work-related activity, and that rules for appropriate work behavior still apply.

In order to just avoid the stress of a holiday party, a lot of companies are just nixing them in all. Do you think Holiday Parties for the office are a dying trend because of these issues?!

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