BNA has published its Year-End Holiday Practices Survey, which offers a useful benchmark – they’ve been conducting these surveys for more than 20 years. This year’s results encompass the responses of human resources executives representing 300 U.S. employers. The big news this year? Parties are on the upswing…76% of respondents said they will be holding a year-end holiday celebration of some type this year, up 9 percentage points from last year’s 10-year low of 67%. And of the party givers, 52% say they will open the parties to spouses or other guests. But the partying will include slightly less emphasis on liquor. While 58% of the holiday parties will include the serving of alcoholic beverages, this is a 3% drop since 2009 and a 7% drop since 2008. In addition, most employers indicate that they are taking one or more measures to limit excessive drinking and ensure the safety of party attendees. Here are some of the strategies that employers employ:

74% – will have bartenders monitor alcohol consumption
54% – will limit times when alcohol is served
49% – will offer a taxi service
24% – will provide discounted hotel rates to encourage overnight stays
4% – will appoint designated drivers

Protecting against liability from alcohol-related driving accidents is important, but there are other liquor-related issues that can pose risk for employers. Attorney Daniel Schwartz of Connecticut Employment Law Blog reminds us that alcohol-induced stupidity can also lead to serious sexual harassment claims – he cites a number of cases and offers links to a series of excellent posts that he has made on the topic of office parties:

Here are some other office holiday party pointers:


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