Considerations for Your Upcoming Holiday Party
As the holiday season is now upon us, many employers will be hosting a party to celebrate the occasion. In preparation, here are some tips to help you host a successful and incident-free holiday party:
Over consumption of alcohol has the potential to lead to several unfavourable outcomes. Consider limiting your guests’ alcohol intake by:
- setting a fixed period of time where alcohol will be served;
- providing a controlled number of drink tickets per guest;
- hiring an independent, professional bartender; and
- serving food, allowing guests to fill up on more than just alcohol.
Location & Transportation
Many employers are concerned about safety risks involved with letting their employees leave the holiday party under the influence of alcohol. Employers can mitigate the associated risk by:
- considering safe transportation options that are available for employees when leaving the party; and
- pre-arranging designated drivers or alternative transportation.
Human Rights Considerations
Focus on inclusivity: given the abundance of faiths, religious denominations and practices with which employees may affiliate themselves, keep holiday parties non-denominational in nature.
It is also important to consider the reality that some of the guests may be struggling with alcohol addiction or may be recovering. Ensure there is a selection of appropriate, non-alcoholic alternatives.
Whenever alcohol is present, there is an increased risk that inappropriate behaviour may occur. In order to remind employees of expectations regarding mutual respect, it is good practice to distribute a copy of the organization’s anti-harassment policy well in advance of the holiday party. It may also be worthwhile to remind employees that they are expected to conduct themselves professionally even if the party occurs offsite after regular work hours.
Communication & Monitoring
Transparent and consistent communication of expectations surrounding alcohol consumption, appropriate behaviour and suitable attire, well in advance of the holiday party, will ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities. Providing details about transportation options prior to the holiday party will allow employees with the opportunity to arrange their journey home safely and without setback.
Assigning one or two individuals from the organization with the responsibility to monitor guests’ behaviour and alcohol consumption, and ensure that they obtain appropriate transportation home, will further safeguard employees and reduce the organization’s potential liabilities.
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Labour & Employment Group should you have any questions or concerns about your workplace. Happy Holidays!