Fisher Phillips Cautions that the New Movie "Office Christmas Party" may be Fun to Watch,
But if Employers Use it as a Party Guide, Lawsuits May Follow
Companies are ringing in the holiday season, with an estimated 80 percent planning to host holiday parties for their employees, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Though holiday celebrations may build morale, Fisher Phillips cautions that employers may find coal in their stockings and lawsuits on their desks if they let their holiday parties snowball into chaos as seen in the new movie “Office Christmas Party.” Fisher Phillips is a management-side labor and employment law firm with 33 offices nationwide.
“Though extreme, ‘Office Christmas Party’ serves as a cautionary tale of what may happen if steps are not taken to minimize legal risks before celebrations commence,” said Art Lambert, partner in the Dallas office of Fisher Phillips. “Despite the best of intentions, if employers are not vigilant when hosting holiday parties, they may risk lawsuits based on discrimination, harassment, or injuries. While planning office parties, employers should make a list and check it twice.
“If employers plan to serve alcohol, they must keep in mind that employees may make poor judgements that subject them to harassment and discrimination claims,” said Lambert. “Employers should remind employees of policies on sexual harassment, discrimination and dress code before the festivities. In today’s litigious environment, it’s important to put guidelines in place to avoid too much holiday cheer leading to a costly lawsuit.”
Below is Lambert’s take on the do’s and don’ts of holiday parties that may help employers avoid unwelcome surprises.