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Office social 'events' or contests being turned into beer fests

HR has been attempting to do some group social things during working hours -- many people are interested - and we had a cookie bake off - which lead to other 'challenges' such as a chili contest. That event got hijacked by a director of the company - who changed the time of the contest from lunch to later in the afternoon so that they could all drink beer - NOT what the majority wanted, but what can you say to a 'person in a leadership position'? Now they want some more contests - but some (women) in the office are not likely to be participating because the timing of these contests are not for lunch but for 'late afternoon' which means - you guessed it - beer. I'm NOT against alcohol - but this is NOT enjoyable - and if you want another reason to keep out of these 'events' - this director also appoints himself chief judge - and rigs the results to benefit HIS people. What to do????

Submitted by: Office Person


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Hi We did have that same kind of situation here, but what our office manager has done is create "fun" contests. Last year, and again this year, we are having a "Halloween Costume" contest, with rules that state, no "sexually explicit or vulgar outfits allowed", it went on during the work day with staff working in their costumes and it was a big hit! Also, I would google contests to look for new ideas that would include all staff, male/female/etc. We also have just started a lunch hour knitting/crocheting learning club, where staff can learn these two skills and they hope to produce two blankets to donate to our charity when done. Alcohol is served after our staff meetings, but you do not have to attend if you don't want to, which I don't because I don't drink, and have usually had enough of co-workers during the day, but at least it is not during work hours, or required. Hope this helps, H Hilary A. on 10/6/2011 12:19:59 PM
Do you have a Risk Management Department. Alcohol at a work sponsored function is a HUGE issue. Anonymous on 10/6/2011 11:58:06 AM
Solution 1: Somebody tell another director or deputy director and ask that person to have a talk with the hijacker. Solution 2: Eventually, people will stop participating and hijacker will ask why. See Solution 1 without the privacy or urgency. Social events should be about people, not alcohol. Does hijacker want to be remembered as the office drunk? Strike one. By taking over the judging role and showing blatant bias, he has also become a bully. That's strike two. Can he survive a strike three? Good luck! Anonymous on 10/6/2011 11:56:47 AM
I don't know what your "normal" office environment is, so please take this with a grain of salt. I think if several of you are uncomfortable, the easiest thing to do is simply unofficially boycott the activities. It takes a bit of nerve to express discomfort in situations like this, and in uncertain times where jobs are less secure than they have been people can be unwilling to be a "complainer." That being said, it would also be good, I feel, for at least a couple of people to quietly (i.e "privately") express to HR than you're uncomfortable with the direction these social events are taking, and that you don't plan to be participating. I think if addressed tactfully, HR can "nudge" that director towards more inclusive activities. I'm a little envious that your company is at least trying to create a little fun in your workday, though! :) Sarah Klein on 10/6/2011 10:31:49 AM
There are liabilities to companies who host or have events with alcohol. Example: If an employee who has been drinking while at work leaves the office drunk and is in an accident and kills someone, the company could potentually be liable for wrongful death. I would make sure through your legal department, if you have one, that this is a function that would be santioned or not my upper management. Vickie O'Farrell on 10/6/2011 10:27:47 AM
Guessing your not working in the government, as the beer would be against regulations reguardless. My though is if management wants to take it over, let them play on their own. All thoes up set with their actions, just don't show up. They will hopefully get the idea. Walter Foster on 10/6/2011 9:38:11 AM
Ok, first let me understand if these "late afternoon" events are still during the work day? If so, I gotta say I'm a bit shocked! I'm assuming they are because if they were after hours, you could simply go home at the end of your work day and not participate. I guess in this situation, the first thing I would do is set up a meeting with your HR person and the ladies who are uncomfortable by this and tell them how you feel about it. Are there any under age employees in your office? That is not a good situation for anyone. In my opinion, there is no room in the workplace for activities with alcohol involved. These should be after hours, voluntarily attended functions ONLY. Good luck. I will be interested to come back and read some of the other posts you will receive on this subject! Anonymous on 10/6/2011 9:34:52 AM
we have a committee of volunteers for these sort of activities - members of management are not on the committee. All events have to be on non-working hours (ie during lunch, or afterwork- with a few minor exceptions). Drinking on company property isnt allowed so we dont have that issue. As far as winning events - we have everything voted on by the employees. There are sheets of paper, and a ballot box. All votes have to include the name of the voter, one vote per person generally so there's no stuffing the ballot box. Most votes wins, plain and simple. Good Luck! Jamie on 10/6/2011 9:27:15 AM

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