Eggnog, latkes, old friends, parties – and a lot of beveraging! HR That Works wishes you a safe and happy holiday season! As the host of your company party, you have a legal obligation to make sure that attendees get home safe. Here’s our list of tips to help you meet this responsibility:
- Make party attendance voluntary.
- Hire bartenders trained to spot and handle intoxicated revelers.
- Provide non-alcoholic beverages.
- Give each guest a limited number of drink tickets, instead of an open bar.
- Serve filling food – not just chips and pretzels – whenever alcohol is available.
- Cut off alcohol service at least an hour before the party ends.
- Stop serving intoxicated guests immediately; don’t wait until they’re ready to leave.
- Never ask an apparently impaired guest if they’re able to drive home – they aren’t.
- Provide a taxi service for guests who require or request it.
- Have a friend or family member pick up intoxicated guests.
- Arrange for discounted rooms at the event location or a nearby hotel.
Finally, have a fun party. Think like good ‘ol Mr. Fezziwig!
Accommodating Religious Needs
The holiday season is an ideal time to focus on religious accommodation in in the workplace. Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion. We’ve seen more of these claims in recent years, with thousands of claims filed in 2012. Unsurprising, many of these cases include allegations of discrimination based national origin (i.e. someone claims discrimination because they’re of Arab origin, as well as Muslim).
The EEOC offers this definition of “religion:”
“In most cases, whether or not a practice or a belief is religious is not an issue. However, the EEOC defines religious practices to include moral or ethical beliefs as to what’s right and wrong, which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional, religious views. The fact that no religious group espouses such beliefs, or that the religious group to which the individual professes to belong might not accept such belief, will not determine whether the belief is a religious belief of the employee or prospective employee. The phrase ‘religious practices’ includes both religious observances and practices.” Also, bear in mind that:
- It’s unlawful for an employer to fail to accommodate reasonably the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee, unless the employer demonstrates that accommodation will mean undue hardship in conducting its business.
- An employer may not ask about an employee’s religious background unless justified by business necessity.”
For more information on religious expression in the workplace, check out: 1) EEOC guidelines and FAQS on religious discrimination: 2) an EEOC memo on accommodating religious expression; and 3) religious accommodation practices at the University of Missouri ( a great education, period).