A boring company holiday party? SCANDALOUS!
The following is a public service announcement. Only you can prevent your company from having a boring holiday party by following these six steps.
1. Let the wine flow like . . . wine! Alcohol should always be served at company functions. One can never have too much of this amazing “social lubricant.” Keep those glasses full, and don’t waste your limited resources on food that nobody will eat anyway. In fact, why limit yourself to alcohol? Maybe you can find a connection to bring in some pot, or some Heisenberg-quality crystal meth. Think outside the box, dude.
2. Since everybody will be drunk (or stoned), look the other way if they misbehave. They can’t control their behavior, especially after they’ve been “lubricated.” Let it slide if they tell dirty jokes, make out with each other, wander off to rooms together, or get in fights — especially if the offender is the boss. Come on, Uncle Scrooge, it’s Christmas!
3. Do not — repeat not — invite spouses or “significant others.” You can have a lot more fun without those balls and chains. People tend to be circumspect when they have somebody along, totally ruining what would otherwise be a fantastic party.
Want to know more? Please register for my webinar with XpertHR, “How to Make Your Holiday Party Sparkle . . . With No Legal Hangovers,” at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, December 3. And for a preview, here is a short podcast I did on the same subject (scroll down to second podcast).
4. Recruit your clericals to set up, serve, and clean up, especially if the party is outside normal working hours. Don’t pay them for their time because (a) they’re salaried, and (b) it’s a party! What a bargain! Do you know how much caterers charge? Your CFO will be so proud of you.
5. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” so be an extremist. Give the evil eye and cold shoulder to anyone who isn’t a Christian and dares to partake of the festivities because how dare they horn in on “our” holiday! Or, go to the other extreme and forbid any use of the “C” word under penalty of termination — as well as Santa Claus, greenery, or those songs that are so popular during the month of December — because how dare they be intolerant and uninclusive! Require everyone to call it the “Winter Party.”
6. Don’t lift a finger to help your employees get home safely. Hey, man, that’s their problem, not yours! If they wanted to get home without a DWI (or worse), they shouldn’t have had so much of that booze you were pouring down their throats all night. Their lack of self-control is really disgusting, when you think about it. The animals.
Seriously, as we approach super-intense-workplace-party season, please be careful. If you serve alcohol, place reasonable limits on consumption, serve plenty of food, and make sure you have alternate transportation available for those who can’t drive home safely. Make sure everyone understands the harassment policy before the party, and keep your eyes open for behavior that could lead to trouble — try to intervene tactfully before it goes too far. Spouses and significant others can be great “natural” controls on behavior, too. Watch out for wage and hour issues, especially related to employees who may help out before, during, or after the party. Be welcoming to all, but don’t be so “tolerant” that you become intolerant.
Robin Shea is a Partner with the law firm of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and has more than 20 years’ experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act; and class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-hour laws; defense of audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and labor relations. She conducts training for human resources professionals, management, and employees on a wide variety of topics.