Our Blog

Throw an Office Holiday Party and Avoid the Legal Hangover


It’s that time of year again where we get to let our hair down and get funky … at the office. Holiday parties are a workplace tradition that we all look forward to year after year. Here are a few tips to allow people to let it rip without getting sued in the New Year.


If your company is hosting a party and you serve drinks to Sal in accounting, then Sal falls down the steps on his way out, guess who’s responsible?

This year make it a point to review your insurance policy to see what is covered. You may need to get event insurance for your bash. Even if your party is offsite, and your company is not providing the alcohol, it’s still a good idea to make sure who is the responsible party from a legal point of view.

It’s not a bad idea to look into hiring taxis to ferry your obviously intoxicated guests home.

Sexual Harassment

This is a big one. Imagine Sal telling the intern a dirty joke after having one too many. That’s Sal’s fault right? Think again. Your holiday party is a “workplace environment” and as such your company could be liable if the intern perceives the joke as sexual harassment.

Make sure that everyone understands that your company sexual harassment policy is still in effect, even if the event is offsite. Also remember that if your company has a dress code, you’ll have to enforce it at the party too.

Avoid Discrimination

There are a lot of religions in the USA. It’s important to stay aware of this fact when planning your holiday party. Religion is protected by Federal discrimination laws, so avoid calling it a “Christmas Party”. You’ll also want to stay away from religious decorations as well.

Last but not least, make sure that employees understand the party is optional.

Ok enough doom and gloom! It’s a party remember? It’s time to show your people how much you have appreciated their work over the last twelve months. Pick a great event setting, get some live music, and above all have fun!

Burchard & Associates provides a personal approach to accounting and tax recruitment for St. Louis and beyond. We are ready to listen to YOU.

Get in Touch