Holiday Parties: How to Avoid the January Blues!

It’s that time of year again!  With the holidays quickly approaching, many
employers choose to celebrate the year’s success with an office holiday
party.  Holiday parties can raise office morale and give your hardworking
employees a chance to relax.  However, employers should be careful.
If your employees have too much fun at a holiday party, you could be the one
waking up with the hangover.  If you plan on serving alcohol at your
party, beware of employees who hover near the bar or seem a bit too happy when
they arrive.  In Purton v. Marriott International, Inc., 218 Cal.
App. 4th 499 (2013), the California Court of Appeals for the Fourth District
ruled that an employer could be held legally liable for a fatal car accident
caused by an employee who drank too much at the company party.  Also
beware of employees who linger underneath the mistletoe.  Alcohol loosens
inhibitions and in a casual setting may cause employees to act inappropriately,
which could lead to sexual harassment suits.  Be sure your employees are
aware of your policies related to alcohol consumption and harassment and know
that they apply to office events, no matter the location.  Encourage
employees to behave respectfully and responsibly.  And most importantly,
if you see an employee acting out of line, intervene early on.  Reminding
everyone of the rules beforehand should ensure that the new year begins with
happy memories.

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law by visiting our blog.
If you have questions, please contact Steve Hirschfeld at
or at 415.835.9011 or Phemie Thomopulus at
or at 415.835.9067.

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