Don’t be Haunted by Your Office Halloween Party « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Don’t be Haunted by Your Office Halloween Party

Halloween looms.  An office party for the occasion may be a great way to boost employee morale.  However, as with holiday parties, a killer get-together can have frightening results if not planned properly.

Here are some guidelines to ensure your Halloween party doesn’t come back to haunt you:

  • Suggest “work-appropriate” costumes: Surely more than a few sexual harassment lawsuits have hinged on inappropriate costumes for an office Halloween party.  Be sure to remind employees that fun and invitations for disaster are two different things.  Specify what management considers inappropriate attire, including costumes that show a lot of skin, those carrying sexual innuendo, costumes glorifying alcohol usage, those with an overt religious or political message, or costumes paired with realistic weapons.  Enforce these rules at the party, even if it means sending someone home.
  • Distribute a notice to employee covering acceptable behavior: A day or two before the festivities send out an email and/or other notice reminding employees that while the party is a social occasion, it is among co-workers.  Employees will be expected to act professionally and appropriately.
  • Ban or keep alcohol consumption under control:  Your business can be held liable for physical injuries caused or sexual harassment committed by a person served alcohol at a company-sponsored party.  For more ideas on how to avoid any horror stories, see A Risky Cocktail: Alcohol and an Employee Party.”

For assistance in understanding and enforcing the boundaries to avoid a Halloween party nightmare, contact an experienced employment law attorney.