During the holidays, employees and employers often get together to unwind and celebrate. These parties typically mean lots of music, food and drinks. If the drinks include alcohol, however, workplace celebrations can have unfortunate consequences. USA Mobile Drug Testing reminds employers to have a safe holiday season in the workplace. Here are some safe business practices for this holiday season.
In pre-event communications, establish expectations for employee conduct:
- Ensure employees are aware of your workplace substance abuse and harassment policies.
- Make it clear that no one is to drive under the influence. Individuals who appear to be intoxicated will be asked for their car keys and alternate transportation will be arranged.
Nine Tips for Safe Office Celebrations
- Be honest with employees. Make sure your employees know your workplace substance abuse policy and that the policy addresses the use of alcoholic beverages in any work-related situation and office social function.
- Post the policy. Use every communication vehicle to make sure your employees know the policy. Prior to an office party, use break room bulletin boards, office e-mail and paycheck envelopes to communicate your policy and concerns.
- Reinvent the office party concept. Why have the typical office party? Try something new like an indoor carnival, group outing to an amusement park or volunteer activity with a local charity.
- Make sure employees know when to say when. If you do serve alcohol at an office event, make sure all employees know that they are welcome to attend and have a good time, but that they are expected to act responsibly.
- Make it the office party of choice. Make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available.
- Eat…and be merry! Avoid serving lots of salty, greasy or sweet foods which tend to make people thirsty. Serve foods rich in starch and protein which stay in the stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream.
- Designate party managers. Remind managers that even at the office party, they may need to implement the company’s alcohol and substance abuse policy.
- Arrange alternative transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative transportation for all party goers and make special transportation arrangements in advance of the party. Encourage all employees to make use of the alternative transportation if they consume any alcohol.
- Serve none for the road. Stop serving alcohol before the party officially ends.
If alcoholic beverages are provided at office social functions, state laws regarding their use and resulting legal responsibilities should be consulted and addressed. This information provided by USA Mobile Drug Testing is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon to determine what steps employers can or should take to address potential legal liability. All employers are encouraged to take what steps necessary to ensure a safe holiday party for all employees.