Business group: Beware office party problems

A small business advocacy group has once again issued its annual warning about holiday office parties and offers tips to avoid problems with intoxication and harassment.

The Small Business Legal Center of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) advises employers to exercise care in serving alcohol at parties:

Make sure the party is voluntary.

Use professional bartenders and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears intoxicated. 

Distribute drink tickets to limit the number of free drinks.

Serve heavy foods throughout the night so people aren’t drinking on an empty stomach.

Ask trusted managers and supervisors to remain on the lookout for people who’ve had too much to drink and are unable to drive and need assistance getting home.

Make sure employees have alternate transportation home, such as a designated driver or a taxi.

Remind employees about company policies on conduct and substance abuse before the party.

The NFIB also offers tips on avoiding problems related to sexual harassment during holiday parties:

Remind employees about harassment policies before the party.

If your business doesn’t have an anti-harassment policy, get one! Have it reviewed by an attorney.

Don’t hang mistletoe.

Inform employees they have a duty to report sexual harassment they experience or witness.

Make sure employees understand a holiday party is still a work-related activity and that rules for appropriate work behavior still apply.