Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...
Dec. 13 — Cocaine in the office. Sex toys as secret Santa gifts. A prostitute in the bathroom. These are some of the shenanigans that happen in the new comedy film “Office Christmas Party,” and they’re not that far-fetched.
“While those sets of events aren’t based in real life, those events bring to mind what happens in real workplaces,” Philippe Weiss of Seyfarth Shaw told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 12.
“January 1 through January 30th is always fertile ground for lawsuits that result from the December parties,” Weiss said. “Bottom line: It’s one night. Don’t ruin your career, your business, your reputation over one night,” he said.
Weiss is managing director of Seyfarth Shaw at Work, the management-side law firm’s Chicago-based subsidiary that assists employers with proactive compliance with employment laws.
“Christmas Party” stars Jennifer Aniston as Carol Vanstone, the no-nonsense chief executive officer of Zenotek Data Storage Systems, a struggling tech company.
Chief technology officer Josh Parker and his deputy Tracey Hughes, played by Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn, decide their best bet to save the company is to woo a big client by throwing a show-stopping party.
It doesn’t take long before the celebration gets out of hand. And the party goes until the next morning.
This violates one of Weiss’ main recommendations regarding holiday parties: “There’s almost a one-for-one ratio between how late the party goes and how many regrets result,” he said. He recommended closing business early one day so the party can begin in the afternoon and wrap up by evening.
Another suggestion from Weiss: Make sure employees know that the usual workplace rules are still in effect.
If Zenotek’s staff understood this, one attendee might have left her plastic bag full of cocaine at home, and at least one of the injured partygoers would have avoided a dental injury that landed him in the hospital.
Even without the blow to the face, a second character got behind the wheel after he drank—a lot.
Unlimited alcohol is a problem, Weiss said. He suggested giving attendees drink tickets as a way to limit consumption.
As an additional measure to limit the amount of alcohol people consume, Weiss said the bar should be limited to beer and wine only. Hard liquor is problematic because of its high alcohol content.
“People might grouse a bit, but they’re happy to have free alcohol,” he said.
“Office Christmas Party” is a work of fiction in which “the stuff that you would think is least realistic are things we’ve seen,” Weiss said.
The sole story arc Weiss questioned was Carol being stranded in Chicago because a snow storm cancelled her flight home. “That’s the only part of the movie that’s not realistic,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Office Christmas Party” is showing at a theater near you.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)