The conga line at the holiday party on AMC's "Madmen."

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the traditional office party can cause serious problems for employers, most continue to host such affairs. So, if you don’t have the courage to cancel yours and split the money you save among your workers, there are many guidelines for how to limit the potential fallout from an office party gone horribly wrong.

First, understand that employee “misconduct” is perhaps expected by most employers who throw such parties. Two-thirds of employers who responded to a SHRM survey report that they serve booze at the holiday event. What do they think is going to happen? Further research indicates that more than a third of employers report bad behavior at holiday parties — and how many more are either unaware of it or, for various reasons, decide not to report it?

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.

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