I’m loathe to be Grinchy, but here are some tips for your workplace holiday party or event this year:

Location and Driving:

  • consider holding the event off-site at a licensed event venue
  • pre-arrange designated drivers;
  • provide taxi chits or a credit system with a local taxi service
  • hire a local transportation service, if not a taxi service
  • inform all employees not to personally drive to and from the event, unless that employee will consume no festive cheer at the event
  • arrange for a door supervisor to monitor if anyone leaves the event, after consuming any alcohol, and intends to operate a vehicle and, if there is a concern, for that supervisor to speak to a designated manager on site to intervene


  • set a fixed time period when alcohol will be available or served
  • provide a set/controlled number of drink chits or tickets per guest
  • hire or use experienced, independent bartender(s) or server(s), with appropriate SMARTserve and training to identify, prevent and help manage over consumption
  • designate non-drinking employees or managers to monitor consumption at the event and identify any potential issues or concerns
  • offer and serve food and non-alcoholic options

Prevention – Discrimination and Harassment:

  • make sure the event is non-denominational
  • offer non-alcoholic alternatives and options to avoid any perception that the event is exclusionary or intended to apply only to certain staff/employees
  • consider setting a dress code for the event and communicating that to all employees/staff in advance
  • circulate your expectations about conduct in advance, in an effective way (mutual respect, professional workplace conduct, treatment of others)
  • ensure your discrimination and harassment policies are posted in the workplace in a common area and at the event
  • consider circulating your workplace discrimination and harassment policies in advance to all invited guests (employees/staff)
  • arrange for designated employee(s) to monitor the event and bring to your attention any concerns, so they can be addressed promptly, discretely and properly before any harm or embarrassment is caused

Happy holidays!

This WARDS LAWYERS PC publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your particular circumstances.

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