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Holiday Countdown: CCH Offers Tips To
(RIVERWOODS, ILL., November 30, 2001) Having second thoughts about staging
the traditional holiday party for employees? Whether youre concerned about the
message youre sending by hosting a lavish spread, or worried about liability issues
that can result from the potentially problem-ridden holiday party, there are steps you can
take, according to CCH INCORPORATED (CCH), a leading provider of human resources and
employment information law, to help ensure that your efforts are a success.
Consider Your Alternatives
"There are many ways to mark the season without opening the door to criticism and
employee disappointment," said CCH workplace analyst Nancy Kaylor.
Employers who decide to forgo the traditional holiday fete this year may want to
consider one of the following:
- Conduct a charitable contribution campaign, or several. Your efforts can focus on people
such as individuals, families or children or such things as
associations/organizations, hospitals or shelters. Consider earmarking the holiday party
budget for a charitable contribution.
- Instead of an off-hours party, consider buffet or "pot luck" luncheons,
dinners or breakfasts during work hours.
- Consider providing several hours off with pay in lieu of any holiday event. The time can
be scheduled with supervisors and employees can be encouraged to use that time for family
activities, shopping for holiday gifts or to volunteer in worthwhile community activities.
- Have an open house for family, preferably during non-business hours. Decorate the
workplace and arrange tours for family members.
- To celebrate the diverse holidays that occur throughout the year, serve a special lunch
featuring representative holiday foods in the employee cafeteria. Decorate the room
depicting each holidays traditions.
Keys to Celebrating Successfully With a Party
If you decide, however, that a company celebration is what you want, there are things
you can do to keep the lid on liability concerns.
"Careful planning and communication are key to minimizing exposure to liability
during employee festivities," said Kaylor.
Heres a look at what employers can do to help ensure holiday party success:
- Designate the party as strictly a social event.
- Make attendance voluntary. Avoid any direct or indirect pressure to attend.
- Avoid holding the party during regular working hours. If you do, employees should not be
on the clock.
- Hold the party at an off-site location.
- Don't label the party as a recurring event (such as a 10th annual party). That way
employees won't consider the party a regular benefit of employment.
- Establish and publish an inappropriate behavior policy that applies to all company
activities, between all coworkers.
- Have employees participate in planning the party.
- Don't serve alcohol. Excessive drinking is the most likely inappropriate employee
behavior at a company holiday party, and often may be the catalyst for other problems that
create liability issues for employers such as sexual harassment. If you do serve alcohol,
make sure you:
- Have plenty of food and nonalcoholic beverages.
- Stop serving at a specified time well before the end of the party.
- Inform all servers they should not serve intoxicated individuals.
- Provide alternate transportation.
- Don't pay for drinks, or pay for a limited number using a ticket system.
- Consider establishing a policy prohibiting the use of company funds to purchase alcohol
and prohibiting supervisors from providing alcohol to employees.
About CCH INCORPORATED
CCH INCORPORATED, Riverwoods, Ill., is a leading provider of human resources and
employment law information, software and e-learning. For more than 60 years, the
companys Human Resources group has set the standard as an authoritative source of
employment law, including information on benefits, compensation, worker safety and human
resources management. CCH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer North America.
The CCH web site can be accessed at www.cch.com.
The CCH Human Resources web site can be accessed at http://hr.cch.com.
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