By Glenn A. Duhl, Esq.
It is that time of the year again! People work diligently all year long, then wind up destroying their hard-earned efforts by acting inappropriately at a holiday party. Or worse, a business takes care all year to ensure its employees follow all safety protocols, only to expose the company to costly litigation because the holiday party got out of hand.
Holiday parties are generally intended to show an employer’s appreciation for all its employees, including management. This is an opportunity to gather in a social, somewhat less formal environment and, likely, drink alcoholic beverages. This is not an invitation for drunken revelry and certainly no one wants to hear of anyone being injured, physically or otherwise.
As the story goes, all too often it is heard that a party ended with (i) an auto accident; (ii) a harassment complaint; (iii) inappropriate words being communicated, either too harsh or too friendly; and/or (iv) the improper disclosure of confidential business information not intended to be released. So what is to be done?
As we see from the recent trend in increased litigation arising from social communications on Facebook, emails and texts, we must be reminded that we must “think” before we do or communicate. Indeed, our actions at parties are easily captured on photos and other recordings easily made on cellular phones. We must act responsibly and remember that being outside the office does not remove the expectation that we all act in such a manner as to save ourselves from having to explain what we did and why. Indeed, we not only wear the badge of our employer in the workplace, but everywhere we go and at all times of the day.
We all have read the news of politicians being caught ensnared in inappropriate social behavior. We have seen sports figures accused of the same. Are we so different? No. If we take a minute and remind ourselves that we must take responsibility for our own actions, we may set the stage for appropriate social and workplace behavior and, yes, enjoy ourselves as well. Happy and safe holidays to all!
(Photo courtesy of ironcactus.com)