holiday party

Let’s Do It Again Next Year!

 Another update from the Jungle…

unnamed-222Craig decided he couldn’t face another office party with the same old cheese log and Ritz crackers and Dirty Santa game. So he told Helen, the HR manager, that he made an executive decision as the company owner to try a different sort of party. Craig has decided everyone will enjoy a tour of the local micro-distilleries.

Privately, he plans to use the tour to finish his holiday shopping. He can sample the local whiskeys and buy a few bottles for clients and vendors and maybe even a few family members. He ignores Helen’s objections about potential liability and begins Googling local tour bus companies. Employees cheer when they hear of his plan. For the first time ever, every employee shows up early to board the bus.

unnamed-221At the first distillery, AJ disappears. Helen eventually finds him out back of the building sharing a hand-rolled cigarette with a distillery employee. AJ says the employee is his cousin. Helen drags him back to the tour to sample the whiskey. Craig buys four bottles.

At the second distillery, Craig buys another dozen bottles. AJ and Carla buy a case a piece and stagger to the bus to stash their purchases. At the third tour stop, everyone heads straight to the tasting room, ignoring the tour guide. AJ, Carla, and Craig huddle close to the server begging for seconds. Craig buys another case. The bus storage areas are filling up.

unnamed-223Helen makes an executive decision to cancel the remainder of the tour. She herds everyone back to the bus. Lenny is singing obscene sea shanties. Helen makes a mental note to ask IT to audit his internet activity so she can find out what Lenny’s really been doing at work. Helen spends the return trip calling spouses, Uber and Lyft to arrange rides for everyone.  

The bus finally rocks to a halt in the office parking lot, spilling Lenny down the aisle, still singing. AJ staggers up the aisle cradling a half-empty bottle where he misjudges the last step and sprawls on the ground. He doesn’t spill a drop.

What should Helen do next?

  1. She can blackmail Craig to give her a couple bottles of whiskey in exchange for ensuring their insurance carrier never hears of this party.
  2. She can research what it would cost to have the holiday party in Las Vegas next year.
  3. She can suggest a drink limit for next year’s party.

Office parties come with risks, including worker injuries and host liability for alcohol-related accidents. As with so many risks in life, moderation and common sense are the best guides.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Nightmare at the Office

 Another update from the Jungle…

unnamed-196Once upon a time, an inexperienced HR Manager named Katie suggested to the company owner Phil that they have a Halloween party. Phil remembered past office parties and hesitated to risk the company’s liability insurance premiums on another such event. It’ll boost morale, assured Katie, and so, Phil said yes.

Katie immediately sent an email to all employees about the festive event. Five minutes later, Misty pops into Katie’s office to ask if she and her fellow white witches can set up a cauldron in the parking lot for a cleansing ceremony. They want to appease the spirits of the universe and ensure a profitable year for the company. Katie gapes at her; she didn’t even know there were white witches on the staff.

unnamed-197Katie says she’ll think about it and shoos Misty away. Katie slumps at her desk wondering whether the EEOC considers white witches a protected religious group. While she’s cogitating on religious freedom in the workplace, Wade shows up. He says office parties are stupid and he won’t participate. If the company wants to boost his morale, he’d prefer cash.

Having spread his brand of cheer, he wanders away to urge other to boycott Katie’s “dumb party.”

Katie is discouraged until she talks to Alan and Ray. They want to know if there is a prize for best costume. Katie thinks that’s a swell idea and says yes. Chortling wildly, Alan and Ray thank her. Too late, Katie remembers that chaos follows them and wishes she had said no. And so begins the scariest night of Katie’s life.

unnamed-19Ray shows up at the party dressed as an Aztec sacrificial victim with a fake heart poking out of his chest, dripping fake blood. Ray doesn’t understand why Moises, a Mexican-American, thinks the costume is culturally insensitive. Katie dashes toward them intent on preventing a fight but rocks to a halt when she catches sight of Alan. Alan had arrived wrapped in a blanket, wearing an Indian war bonnet with psychedelic pink feathers.

Suddenly, he drops the blanket to reveal he’s wearing only a leather thong.

unnamed-200Before Katie can indulge in hysterics, she discovers that AJ, the scary guy from IT, has a fetish for knives and marijuana-laced brownies. Since marijuana is now legal in some states, “What’s the big deal?” says AJ, snatching the tray from Katie before she can dispose of the brownies.

As Katie drives home, she vows never again to suggest boosting morale with a party.

As your workplace celebrates Halloween, be assured that nothing like this could ever happen at your company. Happy Halloween!

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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See, What Happened Was…

Another update from the Jungle….

Lexington & Concord is a professional firm that hires summer interns every year. El Cee, as it’s fondly known, has a reputation for training summer interns by making them work long hours with minimal feedback on their performance. Interns are happy to suffer knowing that if they survive, they will increase their chances of receiving a good job offer.

Kate, the HR manager, thinks the summer interns should be rewarded for their hard work. She convinces Charles, the senior partner, to have an end of summer party for the interns. Charles reluctantly agrees.

The party is held at the home of Rob, a senior partner in the firm who likes to brag about his possessions.  Unfortunately, Rob and his wife, Sally, choose this day to enact their version of the War of the Roses.

The guests arrive in time to watch Sally yanking off her wedding ring and hurling it into the shrubbery. The members of the firm are used to the Rob and Sally soap opera and swerve around the fight with the ease of practice, headed for the drinks by the pool.

Kate quickly steers the interns to the outdoor kitchen and pool area. After asking several partners to chaperon the interns, she dashes away to break up the hosts’ fight before the neighbors call the cops.  She finds Sally sobbing hysterically, but Rob has vanished.

When Kate returns to the pool, she spies Rob propped against the shoulder of a young intern. As she approaches, Kate hears him making suggestions to the young lady that freeze the marrow in her HR bones.  Before the intern can respond, Kate grabs Rob’s elbow to drag him away. Unfortunately, he staggers against Kate. They both topple into the pool.

Several people dive in to rescue them.  Kate clambers out of the pool and looks around in horror. Her summer party is turning into a Roman orgy with half-naked people frolicking at poolside.

Now it’s Monday morning and Kate is in Charles’ office trying to explain what happened at the party. What should she say?

  1. She can say she’s resigning to start a new career as an event planner.
  2. She can imply that it’s Charles’ fault for not attending and using the force of his disapproval to keep everyone in line.
  3. She can promise to never again share her ideas for boosting morale.

In the actual situation, the firm banned parties for summer interns. HR professionals can help their companies by setting clear guidelines on behavior at company sponsored events.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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The Magic of the Season

Another update from the Jungle….

unnamed-3After the fiasco of their Thanksgiving dinner, Rudy and Trish decide they will skip a holiday party this year.  Even a warlock and a witch need a break.  Jerry, the werewolf next door, offers to host a holiday party, but they turn him down. Every surface in Jerry’s house is covered in dog hairs and Trish is a finicky witch who doesn’t like the way the dog hairs stick to her clothing.

Besides, there are rumors of an employee party at the big box store where Rudy, Trish and Jerry work.  Trish checks the bulletin board in the employee break room and sees the notice that the company isunnamed-20 hosting a Christmas party for employees.  Trish immediately complains to the HR manager that calling it a Christmas party interferes with her religious beliefs as a pagan. She threatens to take concerted action with the other witches to protect her workplace rights.

The HR manager cleverly deduces undercurrents of discontent and decides to take a survey of employees to ask who will attend the holiday party.  Most employees say they will attend if they are paid for their time and there is no gift exchange.  In a workplace full of witches, warlocks and a mischievous leprechaun, no gifting is a prudent choice so the HR manager agrees.

The HR manager reports the survey results to the ogre who owns the store and he agrees to pay the employees to attend the holiday party. Actually, what the ogre says is much pithier and an exact quote might give rise to an EEOC charge. The HR manager posts a signup sheet for the potluck lunch.

unnamed-19Trish brings sugar cookies shaped like pentagrams. She’s added a magic spell that increases the eater’s happiness. After eating a cookie, the HR manager smiles benevolently at her coworkers.

Ryan, the leprechaun, arrives late because it is normally his day off.  But he never misses an opportunity to get paid for not working.  He steps jauntily into the break room breathing Bushmills Irish Whiskey fumes on everyone and smiling bleaunnamed-17rily.  As he passes the buffet table, he snatches one of Trish’s cookies and gulps it down in two bites.

The magic spell synchronizes beautifully with his whiskey. Ryan begins high-stepping around the room, like an extra in Riverdance, listening to a tune only he could hear.  The HR manager joins him and soon everyone is hoofing it round the breakroom.

Everyone agrees it is the best office holiday party in years.

Happy Holidays!

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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