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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Seasonal Slush and the Office Party

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Another update from the HR jungle….

Patricia likes to offer plenty of perks to her employees, including free coffee and tea, catered lunches each quarter, a pool table and a workout room. There’s only one perk that concerns Patricia: the office holiday party. She can’t afford a repeat of last year’s fiasco.

Last year some employees enjoyed the wassail and eggnog recipes a little too much. One employee filed a worker comp claim after she fell and broke her arm while trying to dance on the pool table. Another employee fixated on a colleague’s smile and made a highly improper suggestion of how they could spend the rest of the evening. A couple of designated drivers slipped some rum in their cokes and she had to chase them across the parking lot to confiscate their car keys.

Patricia wants her employees to enjoy the season, but there’s a limit to what she can tolerate and what her insurance will cover.

What options are available to Patricia?

  1. She can cancel the office holiday party based on last year’s excesses.
  2. She can try to limit her company’s liability by requiring all attendees to sign a waiver of liability before attending the party. (She should consult an attorney about this option).
  3. She can build in safeguards, such as limiting the number of drinks allowed to each attendee or holding the event at a hotel and reserving rooms for those who over indulge.

Has your company faced similar problems and struggled for a solution? 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 when the policies are implemented.

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