It’s December, the “most wonderful time of the year” and also one of the most dangerous times of the year for employers.
The holiday season can be a minefield of potential liability for businesses, so here are a few tips to make it a Happy New Year:
1. Alcohol consumption in the office can lead to behavior that will result in a harassment claim. The “Holiday Cheer” is not worth the hangover of an Ontario Human Rights Complaint or a law suit.
2. Check with your accountant before giving gifts of cash or gift cards to employees. A CRA audit, penalty and fines for being a nice employer is definitely not worth it.
3. If you have an office party where there has been driking, make sure people take cabs (Uber will set up electronic chits for you) home: there is potential liability to an employer you do not want to have to face.
4. Be sensitive to employees who do not celebrate Christmas: you do not want to face a religious discrimination Ontario Human Rights Complaint.
If you are not certain that something you plan to do for the holidays is “o.k.” then it probably is not. However, you can always contact your lawyer to double check: better safe than sorry!
A Merry Bah Humbug to all and to all a good night.
Inga B. Andriessen JD