My husband works for a state agency. When the agency decided against having alcohol at their Christmas party, several employees felt it wasn’t a party without alcohol. One of them rented a nearby site and sent out invitations to the “office Christmas party” via the office e-mail.  The invitations asked employees to bring a pot luck dish and drinks, including alcohol.

Two days before the party, the employee who sent out the invitations and rented the site sent an e-mail to my husband telling him that he and I weren’t welcome to attend and that it was “a private party.”  This was despite the fact that the email billed it as “the office Christmas party.”

I feel my husband is being ostracized by a co-worker from office-related functions with the imprimatur of his supervisor.  Since this is a state agency, is this legal?  Shouldn’t his supervisor tell him that if he’s hosting the “office Christmas party,” he needs to invite “the office?”


According to HR Consultant Karen Casanovas, “Some departments within the State of Alaska have governing policies that fall under the Department of Administration regulatory and statutory umbrella that may apply to parties and other social events. As these are specific to each department, your husband should check with his supervisor and ask what regulations apply. He can also review the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act (AS 39.52).

Casanovas adds, “Every state public officer, employee, or board or commissioner member also has a designated Ethics Supervisor who can also provide guidance for you and your husband’s question. If this doesn’t give you the answers you seek, you can review the Department of Law’s Ethics Introduction on the State website, or, contact the State Ombudsman’s office, at http://ombud.alaska.gov/contacts.php.”

Regulations, aside, would you want to attend any party where you’re not welcome?

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com.

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