Holiday Parties – Wrapping up the Risks

November 26, 2018

With the holidays approaching, many organizations are preparing for company-sponsored events. While these parties are a great way for everyone to celebrate achievements, it is important to ensure employees are safe during and after these events, and that everyone behaves in an appropriate manner.

Employers that do not prepare their staff and set expectations may face issues such as harassment, inappropriate comments, improper use of social media, and impaired driving. This doesn't mean you should forego the celebrations, but preparing can prevent situations like this from arising.

Consider the following when preparing for a safe and fun night:

Before the Party

  • Confirm your social media policy addresses work events
  • Review relevant company policies with employees including expected behaviours/etiquette at company-sponsored social events
  • Encourage employees to plan ahead to prevent drinking and driving; you may also choose to pay for taxi services or arrange designated drivers
  • Make sure members of your management team know their responsibilities and set a positive example
  • Review emergency response procedure

During the Party

  • Ensure alcohol consumption is monitored by having responsible, qualified bartenders
  • If free alcohol is served, limit the amount provided
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverage options
  • Take all reasonable steps to prevent an employee from driving in an intoxicated state; if the employee refuses assistance and attempts to drive home, call the police

After the Party

  • If there is an incident that needs to be addressed or requires discipline, deal with the situation immediately

With the proper policies and preparation, your event can provide employees with an opportunity to celebrate and have a good time. If you have questions about preparing for a workplace event, how to handle unwanted outcomes, policies, or any other human resources concerns, please contact your local BDO office.

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