Holiday Party 101: How to Avoid The Lawsuit

Next week is our firm holiday party. And I am a big fan.

At the party, I like to drink Four Loko boilermakers all night until I get blackout drunk socialize with colleagues for a few hours before cabbing home for the evening. Generally, I go crazy have a good time. But I rarely always keep it in check. There are others like me at OTHER holiday parties who succumb to the sweet nectar of the gods get a bit tipsy after consuming too many drinks. And where there’s Tipsy, both Handsy and Sailormouth generally come out to play too.

This will could happen at your business. So what steps are you taking to prepare for this inevitability possibility (besides having my number on speed-dial)? Not sure what to do? I’ll help you with some tips after the jump.

  1. Remind employees that the same anti-harassment rules in your handbook apply at the holiday party, regardless of location. More imporantly, make sure that your employees are aware of your anti-harassment policy. Post and dissemenate it.
  2. Make sure that there is plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages available. Also, avoid the salty snacks, as they tend to promote more liquid consumption.
  3. Assign a non-drinking supervisor to monitor alcohol consumption and overly rambunctious or socially uninhibited behavior.
  4. Cut off anyone who appears intoxicated.
  5. Do not hang mistletoe. Also, do the high school prom thing and separate the touchy-feely dancers.
  6. Have plenty of designated drivers and cab vouchers available.
  7. Utilize drink tickets to limit alcohol consumption. Cut off the booze well before the party ends.
  8. If you witness inappropiate behavior, report it (even if you are not the victim).
  9. If anyone (male or female, employee or guest) does raise a complaint where it sounds like someone has engaged in unlawful harassment at the party, take that complaint very seriously. In all seriousness, have a employment attorney on speed dial just in case.
  10. Investigate any complaints that are raised, just as you would a reported incident in the workplace.

Other great Holiday Party 101 resources to help you keep it real safe:

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