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Holiday parties that had fallen victim to the economic recession are now back at many offices across the country, and are a wonderful way to show your appreciation for your employees and their hard work during the year.

However, business owners are also wary of hosting parties that could leave them with a legal hangover.  Here are some tips for minimizing your risk while maximizing the enjoyment of a holiday office celebration:

Reinforce good behavior. When you distribute your communication about the event, be sure to include a reminder to all employees that proper conduct and attire is expected at the party, the same as it is in the workplace.

Keep it secular. Most companies have a diverse workforce so be sure you respect that by keeping the theme secular.

Attendance not mandatory. Allow people who don’t feel comfortable in a party setting with co-workers to opt out.

Neutral venue. Consider hosting the celebration outside the office at a nice restaurant (not a bar or nightclub) to minimize liability risk.

Use caution if serving alcohol. If the party will include alcohol, be sure to provide transportation for those who over-indulge, have lots of food, cut off service well before the party ends, hire a third party vendor to serve or host at a neutral site, and make sure underage employees are not drinking.

Have a designated host. Appoint your HR director or another responsible manager to be in charge of addressing any inappropriate behavior, helping employees who need transportation and making sure the party is over at the appropriate time.

Handled correctly, an office holiday celebration can help you express your appreciation to your employees and fire them up for a new year of success.  To learn more about getting your company off to the right start in 2015, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.