During the month of December many companies put together holiday parties for the employees to celebrate the closing of the year and have a little fun mingling together outside of the normal office setting. Most holiday parties vary between business; staying after at the office and everyone bringing something to share or having an elaborate party in a setting outside of the office with food and entertainment.
With these holiday parties corporations may not realize that such festivities could result in costly lawsuits. Even though your office party may be held at a location outside of your building, the courts may consider that outside location as part of the work environment since the party is sponsored as a work event. If you are on the committee to plan your office party make sure you take a few minutes to review your companies policy so that you are not surprised in the end.
Over the years after such events there seems to be lawsuits filed by employers attending such events.
Such lawsuits have been filed over the choice of venue; stating that the location of the holiday party may be inappropriate or even inaccessible for people with disabilities or special needs to attend the special event.
Attending an office holiday party may also include the consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is important that if your company is partaking in serving alcohol that you appoint designated drivers and make sure those who are drinking are getting home safely after the party. You may also may want to look into arranging alternative transportation by calling ahead to a taxi company to provide a safe ride home for your employees after the event. With drinking this can lead into employees becoming more relaxed and inhibited which may lead to complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination. If you are in the management level and you learn about such complaints it is important to follow up and investigate to make sure those involved are regarded and treated fairly.
Just remember that during your office holiday party to have fun and enjoy the time with your fellow employers and be aware of your surroundings and have a safe time celebrating together.