The holidays are here, and that means your office may be holding a holiday party very soon (or maybe in the recent past). It's a time of celebration, maybe in recognition of a tremendous year for the company, or in anticipation of an exciting new year of business. In either scenario, though, the company holiday party is always something that some employees may fear.
Company holiday parties have a certain stigma attached to them -- and it's not particularly flattering. You could watch any TV sitcom that has an episode centered on a company holiday party, and you're likely to see embarrassing dancing, intoxicated employees, and general nonsense that would be "unbecoming" of a professional. Who knows, you probably will see all three.
But this doesn't represent what happens in real life, at least not all the time. There are holiday parties that do get out of hand, and when that happens there are likely employees or employers who find themselves in serious trouble. So what do people need to know with the company holiday party season upon us?
First of all -- and this will likely solve most problems that are associated with company holiday parties -- remember to be responsible and to temper your alcohol consumption (if any alcohol is even offered at your party). Second, it is important for employers to remember that these parties should not be mandatory. If you fail to say it is voluntary, your employees could make a claim (legal or otherwise) for unpaid overtime.
Last but not least, the holiday party should be at an off-site location. If it is held at your place of work, you could sue your employers if something negligent, or an accident, occurs.