With the holidays approaching, many employers plan to host office parties. While these events can be fun, morale-boosting experiences, they can also lead to unintended legal consequences. Keith Clouse, a Dallas employment law attorney who frequently counsels employers on employee issues, offers the following suggestions:
• Do not require employees to participate. For a variety of reasons, some employees may not choose to or be able to attend a workplace function, and an employer should not force employees to do so.
• Do not encourage employees to drink. Employers should remind employees to drink responsibly and should offer several non-alcoholic options. An employer may wish to set up a cash bar, distribute a limited number of drink tickets to each guest or close the bar early to further decrease the chances that guests will overindulge.
• Do not focus on religion. An employer should usually avoid tying a celebration to a particular religion. An “end of the year” party with neutral decorations will help ensure that all employees feel comfortable.
• Remind employees that general rules of conduct apply, despite the relaxed party atmosphere. Employees should not view the company party as an opportunity to get away with behavior that would not otherwise be tolerated.
To speak to Mr. Clouse or to another Dallas-based employment law attorney about a workplace issue, contact the employment law firm of Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at email@example.com.