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A Guide to Holiday Office Parties

November 29, 2017

It is officially the holiday season, which means company celebrations are quickly approaching. Holiday parties are a great way to bring an organization together to boost morale and camaraderie, and are a great way to thank your employees and volunteers for all their hard work during the year. However, they also bring about liability risks for organizations.

Holiday parties can be a lot of fun but they can also damage the reputation and mission of the organization if something goes awry. There are many ways to lighten the mood and encourage staff, volunteers, and other attendees to relax. If you are planning on serving alcohol at your office party, here are a few things to consider to ensure safety and to minimize risk to the organization:

  1. Remind employees to be responsible. Include a statement with the invitation encouraging attendees to drink responsibly and to have a designated driver. If you have a code of conduct, remind everyone that it still applies.
  2.  Limit availability of alcohol. Consider drink vouchers (2 per person) and/or using trained bartenders to control the amount of alcohol consumed.
  3.  Offer non-alcoholic beverages and serve food. Plentiful food and alternative beverage choices encourage variety and diminish the effects of alcohol.
  4.  Invite spouses, significant others, or families. This can create a more disciplined atmosphere and discourage inappropriate behavior.
  5.  Alcohol can provide a setting for lewd behavior and inappropriate conduct. Before the party occurs, remind everyone of the organization’s sexual harassment policy. Have supervisors keep an eye on employee behavior (and make sure to leave the mistletoe at home).

Make sure your holiday party goes off without a hitch. A little planning ahead can prevent a big headache later on. If your organization is hosting a holiday party, check with your CalNonprofits Insurance account manager to ensure you are properly covered for any liability that could arise.

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