December 2, 2022

Managing Holiday Cheer

With the holiday season in full swing and many companies looking forward to once again hosting their employees for in-person holiday parties, it’s a good time to begin managing the holiday cheer. Whether your company will be hosting a formal or casual holiday get together these tips and reminders should help keep partygoers and companies out of legal hot water!

Policy Reminders: It is always a good practice to remind employees ahead of any company get together that company sanctioned events are an extension of workplace norms, policies and procedures. It is important that employees understand that this is the case regardless of whether the event takes place on or off company property. Reminders should include the company’s policies on drug and alcohol use, anti-harassment and social media.

Avoid Compulsory Attendance: Employers must be mindful that not all employees celebrate the same holidays or in fact celebrate the holidays at all. Compulsory attendance at holiday events may cause undue pressure, trigger social anxiety and place undue pressure on employees who feel they must ‘go along’ to ‘get along.’ To avoid any missteps a best practice in this regard is to make attendance truly voluntary; don’t over-do the ‘we haven’t heard from you yet’ email reminders.

Be As Inclusive As Possible: Avoid risk associated with discriminatory conduct by making the extra effort to ensure event facilities can accommodate disabled employees and their guest(s). If alcohol is to be served, make sure there are non-alcoholic options and if you are asking employees to RSVP consider including space for employees to list any special dietary restrictions or allergies.

Holiday get togethers can be a great morale booster and a welcome opportunity to celebrate company “wins” over the past year. With a bit of planning and forethought they can also be a professional and fun group event.