Halloween is one of your employee’s favourite holidays to celebrate in the workplace. It can build teamwork and encourage positive morale amongst employees. It is also an excellent opportunity for executive and senior staff to mingle with the rest of the staff so approaching the senior leaders in the future might not seems so scary.
Halloween celebrations range from trick or treating and crafts with employees’ children, to pumpkin carving contest, to adult costume parties with alcohol. They all encourage employee interaction and workplace engagement. They all open the employer to potential liabilities and concerns.
Do make plans to celebrate Halloween in your workplace – but lay the groundwork early to nix the scary aspects. Make participation voluntary and never pressure employees who may not want to participate. At the same time, make plans and communicate with employees to avoid these four potential problems:
Don’t count on your employees to practice appropriate dress without a reminder, the reminder can accompany the invitation to dress up for the Halloween costume contest or attend an adult workplace costume party.
Inform employees that costumes should be G-rated and that, while you encourage an employee to get into the spirit of the costume, this does not mean behaviour can be considered hostile or sexual harassment. Professional behaviour is expected even when the employee is wearing a costume. You can avoid this possibility altogether by hosting activities for your employees’ children.
Hostile work environment
Your reminder note should also tell employees what costume themes to avoid. Steer clear of costumes that demean political parties or figures, show insensitivity to employee religions and nationalities.
Unwanted physical contact and fake weapons all produce a hostile work environment in which some employees may be offended or uncomfortable. So, remind your employees to not go there.
Drunk employees are a problem. They are more likely to commit harassment or create a hostile work environment when alcohol colour their judgement. They are more likely to make fools of themselves by spending the evening throwing up in the restroom or falling off chairs.
Even if the employee doesn’t remember what he did in the morning, his behaviour will earn the disrespect of his co-workers. People talk and gossip about what goes on in the office – even more so about party behaviour. Even though parties are fun, workplace parties remain work functions.
Physical safety for employees
Employers need to exhibit common sense, for instance not serving alcohol at a pumpkin carving contest. Require each child participating in the pumpkin contest be under the supervision of an adult. If there is an injury while employees celebrate Halloween in your workplace, the injury should be recorded.
Limit the prominence of alcohol at company events and parties to diminish the possibility of employee accidents like falling down stairs or an auto accident on the way home. It is also best that alcohol is not served when children are around in the workplace.
You can celebrate a wonderful Halloween at your workplace. If you plan and communicate with employees in advance of the event, you will ensure the happiness and safety of your employees.
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