It’s December and, if you’re like most American businesses, ‘tis the season for your company’s holiday party. And although a chance for banter and merriment with your employees is always a good idea, sometimes, what they do at your yearly soiree could leave them with a lump of coal in their inbox the next morning.
Now, we don’t want to be humbugs. No one should spend their few hours at the company party fretting over whether to have that second drink. We should all have fun and, by all means, cut a rug. But if you and your employees make sure to follow the five tips below, everyone can be sure to stay off the HR Director’s naughty list.
1. Make Sure You’re Driving the Sleigh
The biggest legal mistake small businesses make is not getting an agreement in writing. When you’re planning your party make sure you have contracts with all of your holiday vendors from the DJ to the caterer that clearly states payment and cancellation policies.
2. Don’t Get Caught Underneath the Mistletoe
According to a recent survey from the Caron Treatment Centers, 30% of people who attended a work-related outing have seen someone flirt with a co-worker or supervisor. Make sure you have a game plan in place for how to handle inappropriate behavior that could potentially lead to a sexual harassment claim when the eggnog starts flowing.
3. Check Your List Twice
Often times event spaces will require you to release them from liability at a holiday party. If something happens, like someone slips while dancing around the Christmas tree, you need to have liability insurance to cover it. Check with your current business insurance policy to see if it’s something your current plan will cover, or if you need a special rider.
4. Keep an Eye on the Eggnog
If alcohol is served at a company event, small business can be liable for accidents that happen on the way home. It’s wise to offer cabs and coordinate designated drivers in advance of the party to protect everyone’s safety. Also consider serving food, and limit the amount of the time the bar is open to keep things from getting too jolly.
5. Get a Gift from Uncle Sam
Expenses for your holiday party should be tax deductible, as long the party isn’t overly lavish or wholly unrelated to work activities. But stay organized and keep those receipts…you never know when you might run into a grinch-like IRS agent who doesn’t share your holiday spirit.
Be safe out there, everyone. And have a great holiday season.
- 5 Small Business Tax Tips for 2012: Start Planning Now for a Prosperous New Year (press.rocketlawyer.com)
- 4 Reasons Small Businesses Can Be Thankful (press.rocketlawyer.com)
- Bah Humbug to Office Holiday Parties? (blogs.wsj.com)