Workplace Word® - Protecting Your Company Against the Perils of Office Parties


by Alexandra Sandvik

Whether you’re ready or not, it’s almost time to deck the halls and pull out the punch bowl for your office holiday party. But before you start dusting off your religiously neutral décor, make sure you take steps to limit the potential legal liability of company-sponsored holiday merrymaking. Even “[a]t the risk of playing the Grinch” courts like the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recognize “that office Christmas parties also seem to be fertile ground for unwanted sexual overtures that lead to Title VII complaints.” Place v. Abbott Laboratories, 215 F.3d 803, 805 n.1 (7th Cir. 2000). But the holiday season does not have to mean an influx of legal liability! Consider the following tips to potentially reduce your company’s exposure and make the season a little more joyful for everyone.

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