Matthew Goodin Quoted in “Prepare Now for Worry-Free Holiday Season”

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Matthew A. Goodin, Senior Attorney in the Labor and Employment practice, in Epstein Becker Green's San Francisco office, was in quoted in “Prepare Now For Worry-Free Holiday Season,” by Tammy Binford.

Following is an excerpt:

The holidays mean party time in many workplaces as coworkers celebrate a year's hard work. Unfortunately, some people will celebrate by having too much to drink. “Too much alcohol at the office holiday party can cause hangovers for employers, not just employees,” Matthew A. Goodin, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green, P.C., in San Francisco, wrote in an article in the December 9, 2013, issue of California Employment Law Letter.

When parties include alcohol, Goodin suggests offering plenty of food and nonalcoholic drinks and limiting consumption by using drink tickets or serving alcohol for just a limited time during the party. “Remind employees before the party that while they should have fun, the holiday party is a work event and professional behavior is expected,” he says.

Sexual harassment is another party concern. “Some employees think they can say or do things at a holiday party that they would never say or do in the workplace,” Goodin says. He also suggests reminding employees to report any inappropriate conduct promptly and to let employees know that complaints will be investigated.

Goodin also reminds employers to stress that party attendance is optional. “Keep in mind that there may be some employees who don't feel comfortable attending a holiday party for a variety of reasons.” He cites the example of a Muslim employee who sued her employer because she was disciplined for not attending the company holiday party for religious reasons.