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Carve Out a Safe Halloween Party, Says Attorney

Carve Out a Safe Halloween Party, Says Attorney

By Martin C. Daks | New Jersey Business

It’s that time of year when many businesses and their employees have a ghoulishly good time at company-sponsored Halloween parties, but the trick for employers is to provide a treat to the staff while maintaining an appropriate decorum.

Beware, though, says lawyer Patricia S. Robinson, as costumes that are fiendishly funny to one person may be the kiss of death to another. And a business could get bitten if inappropriate attire or behavior sparks ire among party guests or other individuals.

“Halloween may be a time for celebration, but employers have to be careful,” cautions Robinson, who is of counsel at the law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, based in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New Providence. “Management needs to clearly communicate its expectations regarding employee behavior.”

Supervisors looking to boost creativity and morale must do so while keeping a lid on excesses, Robinson adds.

“Management cannot address every possible situation in its holiday-party communications, but it can communicate general guidelines,” she says.

For example, if employees can come to work in a costume on Halloween, remind them that getups have to comply with company dress codes.

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“Advise employees, in writing, that overly casual or revealing outfits are not appropriate,” she says. “Safety is also a concern. A manufacturer may prohibit loose or flowing outfits that could get tangled up in machinery, possibly leading to injuries.”

Management should also think about how customers might react to an employee’s costume, since the wrong message can drive a stake through a company’s reputation.

“There may be additional issues if your workers are dealing with the public,” Robinson says. “How will your customers react to really scary costumes, or to ones that make a strong political statement? Will it affect their perception of your company?”’

Discussion: Halloween Decor?

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