I first posted this a year ago.  But, this advice always applies at this time of year, when we all attend holiday parties.  Many times, bad conduct at office parties contributes to sex harassment lawsuits.  For example, telling a female subordinate that you admire her breasts can be good evidence of sex harassment.  See Dan Schwarzt’s post.  

See Dan’s suggestions:  

1) Discourage excessive drinking.  Yes, employers can be held liable in some states for negligence by employees driving home form an office party.  Do not allow an Elaine dance: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xi4O1yi6b0

2) Have the party at a restaurant or bar, where the retail establishment will assume some liability.

3) Consider providing only beer and wine. No tequila shots.  Serve plenty of food. 

4) Invite spouses and family members. Tie the party to another event, so drinking is not the only activity.  Exchange gifts, collect for a charity, have a Santa Claus. 

5) Consider making the party a lunch event. 

6) Make attendance voluntary, truly voluntary.  if it is a required event, then liability will apply.  It will then become a work function with all that entails. 

See the rest of Dan’s good suggestions