Being a responsible employer during Christmas Party Time

Dec 13, 2018 bcrfauser01

At this time of the year when people are celebrating, many employers think it’s important to have a party for their staff. In fact, given the new workplace realities, it isn’t necessary and isn’t always the best idea. Employees may drink or smoke marijuana at parties – and too much consumption can result in inappropriate behaviour or impaired driving.


If inappropriate behaviour, such as sexual harassment happens at your staff party, you, the employer is liable just like it happened at work. If someone leaves the staff party, intoxicated, and something happens, like an accident or a roadblock, you’re liable the same as if the employee became intoxicated at work.


There are great alternatives that don’t have to include the options for getting intoxicated:

  • Consider a destination party, such as a trip to a local Christmas event, concert or play where alcohol or marijuana will be limited or not available.
  • Try a holiday breakfast or lunch that allows people to celebrate within work hours – giving the staff time to gather and connect without imposing on an evening or weekend.
  • Have an early, straight after work reception (such as dinner from 5 to 8 or a lunch party from 12 to 2), restrict alcohol or don’t serve it. If alcohol is served, assure everyone has a safe ride.

Celebrate the season without having a party:

  • Taking the money the party would have cost and giving each employee a small bonus.
  • Ask your employees if they would rather have a party or make a charitable donation instead. Everyone is busy and not having to attend the traditional staff party, for some, is a gift of time.
  • Celebrate the season with a charity drive that your company matches staff donations of items or dollars.
  • Consider having your team go and serve a healthy meal for those in need in your community.
  • Try a friendly, team building competition between teams of employees (front of house versus back of house for example) where everyone will get into the spirit of giving. Collect food for the foodbank, hats, socks and scarves for the homeless or pet items – the team who collects the most could be given a prize and bragging rights. They could pick the charity for next year’s event.

The holiday season can be incredibly busy and stressful for our industry. Think outside the box for ways you can honour your staff and the season.

If you need help or advice, remember we at the BCRFA have the resources to help you. Call Gillian at 604 505 2374 at any time if you have a question.

Happy Holidays from us at the BCRFA to you and your team.