Ask the Experts: Do you have appropriate company communication about holiday parties?

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Question: Do you have language we can use in a company communication that will go out before our holiday party to encourage responsible drinking and appropriate conduct?

Answer: Yes, we can provide some suggested content. First, we want to congratulate you on thinking through the all-important step of setting appropriate expectations for your event. Communicating in writing to your employees prior to the event sets the tone and (hopefully) encourages good behavior.

We recommend that your pre-event communication include your expectations for alcohol consumption (if applicable), driving and transportation, anti-harassment, and dress. Use your best judgment about including additional company-specific policies and expectations. Modify the information in the sample below as needed.

Sample pre-party communication

Subject: Conduct reminders for company event

Employees:

We are looking forward to celebrating the season and our many accomplishments with all of you. It’s important that everyone is safe and has a great time, so we wanted to provide a few reminders about our expectations for conduct at the event.

Alcohol—Please remember to consume alcohol responsibly and not over indulge.  Alcoholic beverages will not be served [insert time here, such as one hour] before the end of the party. Non-alcoholic beverages will continue to be served. Employees who are not of legal age will not be permitted to consume alcohol.

Transportation—It is of utmost importance that all employees get home safely. We encourage employees to designate a sober driver—someone who will not drink alcohol during the party. If, for any reason, you feel you are unable to drive home, the company will reimburse the cost of a cab or ride service home with no questions asked. Simply submit your receipt to [department or person].

Dress—Please ensure your dress meets the standards of business casual rules for the workplace.

Conduct—At [company name] we do not tolerate harassing behavior of any type. At the party, company rules and policies about harassing behavior and proper conduct still apply. Language and behavior that would be appropriate for the workplace setting should be used.

Thank you for helping us make this a successful and fun event.

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