As the holiday season comes to a close, employers should be mindful of the workplace issues that occur more frequently this time of year.
Ironically, holiday festivities can bring the greatest headaches of the year, but if your organization follows these guiding principles to avoid common pitfalls, your company can minimize liability and focus on the joys of the season.
Your organization can reduce its risk of liability by giving the office party a general label, such as “holiday celebration” or “end of the year gathering.” Consider neutral games such as an ugly sweater contest and universal decorations such as snowflakes.
The following factors carry considerable weight in determining pay status:
Generally speaking, a non-exempt employee must be compensated for his time at an office party if the event occurs during his work schedule, attendance is mandatory or the employee is working in any capacity to facilitate the event. Similarly, an exempt employee may not be “docked” for skipping the party.
The holiday season is an opportunity to boost company morale and celebrate the year’s accomplishments but to make sure that you are keeping the company’s best interest in mind. If you are coordinating such an event, make sure that there are plans in place should any issues arise.
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