Confidential Attorney Client Privileged Communication/Not For Distribution
From: SwedelsonGottlieb, Association Legal Counsel To: Happy Holidays Homeowners Association
Re: 2013 Holiday Party Legal Issues We are reporting our preliminary findings following the events that unfolded at the Association’s mandatory Holiday Party last week. We report the following pending matters and recommended changes to the Association’s policies:
• First, at the Holiday Party, we recommend that you no longer require staff to participate in an off-key rendition of Joy to the World, as a pre-condition of receiving their holiday bonus checks. We are checking with the EEOC to see if Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer would be sufficiently secular to use for next year’s party.
• Second, we recommend that next year’s party be voluntary. Because the party was mandatory, the Association must compensate all hourly employees who attended or face possible wage claims. Thus, Management must now explain to the Board of Directors why the Association should pay the entire Accounting Department for playing Truth or Dare until 4 a.m. Saturday.
• Third, we suggest that hourly employees not be asked to set up the party, serve hor d’oeuvres, tend bar, sing carols on demand, wear Santa hats, or clean-up after the party for the same reason cited above. The Association must arguably pay these employees for the hours they performed these tasks. We are certain that this is the only Association in the area that paid time and a half and provided full benefits for individuals to provide catering services.
• Fourth, it was reported that Oliver from the reception desk had never mixed drinks before being asked to bartend. As a result, it has been alleged that he made exceedingly strong drinks and apparently spiked the non-alcoholic punch at the behest of several members of the Maintenance Team. Next year, we recommend that non-alcoholic beverages be available (and will be protected from becoming alcoholic). We also recommend that the Association also convert the jello-shots table to a full buffet and stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends.
• Fifth, we investigated and it turns out that Oliver from the mailroom is a Senior in High School. When his mother tracked his phone to Peggy from Human Resources’ house the morning following the party, she called the police department. If you serve alcohol at next year’s Holiday Party, we recommend that you ensure that everyone who partakes is 21 or over. We also recommend that you provide a car service to ensure employees get home safely. The criminal aspects of this matter remain pending.
• Sixth, though it seemed charitable for Peggy to make sure that Oliver made it all the way home, all Association employment policies apply to the conduct at the party, including the Association’s prohibition of sexual harassment. Thus, instead of high-fiving Oliver, Jimmy from Ethics should have taken his complaints about Peggy’s advances seriously and followed the Association’s policies and procedures for reporting and addressing his harassment claims.
• Seventh, because every drink that Oliver made was a triple and there was no non-alcoholic alternative, several instances of sexual harassment, in addition to Oliver’s complaint, reportedly occurred. Our office is sorting through the various complaints, including one lodged by Cindy from Maintenance, who claims that Fred from Data Processing repeatedly attempted to give the reindeer on her Christmas sweater a massage. Next year, we recommend that Human Resources must send a pre-party reminder that the Association’s policies apply at the Holiday Party just as they do during a normal workday. The same goes for enforcement of those policies.
Finally, we regret to report that the Association may also be facing Workers’ Compensation exposure. Nathanael from Landscaping threw out his back during a dance off with Dean from Maintenance, and he reports that he has not been able to fully stand since the party. Because the party was mandatory and Association members were invited, Dean may have a workers’ compensation claim because this arguably occurred while he was in the course of his employment.
We want to thank the Board and all of our many clients for their business. Happy Holidays to all of you and may the new year bring you all the good health, happiness and success you deserve.
From all of us at SwedelsonGottlieb