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Plan Now To Minimize Liability For Holiday-Party Misconduct


36% of employers report employee misconduct at holiday parties. The misconduct ranges from excessive drinking to sexual advances, off-color jokes, vulgar language, arguments, or even fistfights. This article summarizes risks to employers and lists precautions you can take to minimize your liability. These precautions are categorized as: 1) pre-party compliance efforts, and 2) specific actions for the night of the party.

Legal Risks

Employers may be liable for the acts of their supervisors and employees under several legal theories. For example, employers may be civilly liable for negligent or intentional acts occurring within the “scope of employment.” Employers may also be liable for harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in violation of Title VII.  Liability can be substantial. Take these risks seriously and consider the following precautions.

Pre-Party Necessities

Prior to the party, you should:

Party Planning

Most holiday party misconduct is related to over-consumption of alcohol. If you choose to serve alcohol at a party, consider these tips:

While you can’t completely eliminate the risk of liability arising from parties, by planning appropriately you can reduce liability – and continue to celebrate!

For more information, contact the author at or 404.231.1400.


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