‘Tis the Season! Minimizing Risk During Holiday Celebrations

December 5, 2016 10:18 pm

If you’re an HR professional, you know that while holiday parties can be fun occasions to get away from normal work formalities, they also bring concerns about alcohol consumption, inappropriate behavior, and even wage & hour procedures. (Bah humbug!)

Holiday Celebrations

Sierra HR Partners is here to help with this handy list of HR Best Practices for planning your office parties:

• Employees’ time for party planning, set-up, or tear-down is generally considered compensable because it benefits the employer.  Be sure your party committee accurately tracks their work hours, and provide clear guidelines for when they will be considered “off-the-clock” at the event.

• Reduce expectations to pay employees for attending a holiday party by clearly communicating that attendance is voluntary, holding the event at an off-site location, and minimizing business activities such as goal setting or review of the year’s accomplishments.

• Consider no alcohol, a cash bar, or drink tickets to limit alcohol consumption.  Make arrangements for sober transportation such as taxis, Uber, or designated drivers.

• Remind all employees and managers about appropriate conduct, anti-harassment policies and social media policies.  Maintain your awareness, and enlist the help of other managers, to identify and address problematic issues quickly.

• In the event of an accident or injury, follow normal workers’ compensation claim procedures.

• Promptly investigate any complaints of harassment or inappropriate behavior by interviewing witnesses and taking appropriate disciplinary action.

• But go ahead and enjoy yourself!  You’ve worked hard all year and you deserve that glass of champagne or extra cookie, right?  (Just be sure to drink responsibly…be on your best behavior…don’t post about it on Facebook…monitor the dress code, and oh…are you clocked in for all of this?)

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