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As companies recover from the Great Recession, holiday parties are no longer in danger of becoming extinct. In 2012 the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that almost three-quarters of employers planned to hold a holiday event, compared to 60 percent doing so just two years before. Holiday parties can build morale and team spirit; they also can create legal liability disasters for employers. Here are three categories of disasters to beware of, and solutions to address them proactively.

Sexual Harassment Disasters

When alcohol is served at holiday parties, it can create an environment for unwanted sexual advances and potentially illegal employee conduct. It is not uncommon for some employees to forget their office behavior standards at company holiday parties, particularly those held outside of the workplace. In a social setting, an employee may feel more at ease in pursuing another employee in a personal, romantic manner. And with ubiquitous cellphone use combined with social media postings, the evidence of a sexual harassment incident can be posted online for the whole world to see. A starting point for dealing with the latter concern is to review the company social media policy and prohibit employees from posting photographs or video at an official company function without management permission.

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