Nemeth Law attorney offers some new suggestions for the time honored tradition of holiday work parties
Will your organization be hosting a holiday party this season? Whether it’s to celebrate the holidays or reward employees and celebrate a year of hard work, it’s best to establish guidelines to make sure everyone remains safe, happy and employed. Kellen Myers, an attorney at Detroit-based labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, offers the following guidelines and considerations, some of which acknowledge the changing landscape of society and the workplace:
• Smile for the camera – but watch those social media party posts! Myers says it can be a great idea to share quotes and photos from a work party, but remind staff in advance of the celebration that the company’s social media policy still applies at the event.
“Inappropriate conversation or photos that end up on social media and reflect poorly on the organization or another staff member should be forbidden and may also be grounds for firing, especially if a particularly egregious post, video or photo goes viral. Employers don’t want the holiday party to be a breeding ground for social media feuds that spill over into the workplace long after the party has ended,” Myers said.
• For crowd control and better monitoring of party activities, limit parties to employees rather than adding clients and vendors.
“That being said, it can be fun to include spouses, significant others and even children of employees to a holiday party; their presence may help avoid inappropriate behavior and over-indulging, too,” Myers said. “If alcohol is served, though, be sure to implement and follow a “We ID” policy.
• Invite all employees to the party, but make it clear that attendance is voluntary. Not everyone celebrates the holidays, and employees should not feel pressured to attend a party that might offend their religious beliefs.
• Senior management and HR representatives should attend the holiday party.
“This is not necessarily a social time for company executives. They need to be conspicuously visible and exhibit model behavior,” Myers said.
• Don’t drink and drive should be the mantra. If possible, arrange for transportation in advance for employees who may not be able to drive. Shuttles and car services are an excellent option, but can be costly. Consider alternatives, including offering to reimburse employees for cab fares or ride-hailing services such as Uber.
• Remind employees that while the holiday party is meant to celebrate their contributions from the past year, the event is still a business function and inappropriate behavior may result in discipline.
No party planned this year? It’s not too late to host a breakfast/lunch event on-site and close the office early.
“With these types of informal gatherings, employees appreciate getting to leave earlier in the day and the timing eliminates problems that can arise with evening parties where alcohol is served.”
Is it possible to follow all these rules and guidelines and still have fun? Myers says yes.
“Our firm’s holiday gathering was a fowling event in Detroit in early December and it was a blast,” Myers said. “Last I checked, we were all still on speaking terms with each other and any photos that went viral were on the Nemeth Law social media channels – meaning they were approved for posting by the boss,” Myers said.
About Nemeth Law, P.C.
Nemeth Law specializes in arbitration, mediation, workplace investigations, employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation/training for private and public sector employers. It is the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.