Can I make an excuse and get out of going to my firm’s holiday party?

I hate company holiday parties with a passion, but my boss feels it is important that we all attend to demonstrate our loyalty and commitment to the company. Can I suggest that the food and beverage cost for me should be donated to charity instead, as a way to get out of going?

Holiday parties are a human resource executive’s nightmare. Where other people see food and beverage, we see every conceivable potential career-limiting move.

Something about free food and alcohol reveals the inner freak in people, and things are revealed that should stay hidden in any work context. Remember, you are not out with your friends, when you can let your freak fly. It’s work, people — regardless of the setting.

Showing up is a sign of respect however and, depending on the size of the company, your absence could be conspicuous. As nice as the sentiment is to donate the cost for you to charity, it will be obvious that the gesture is really about avoiding the party.

Make an appearance, and thank your boss and host. Then you can party with friends elsewhere.

I was laid off by my former employer and now they want to rehire me in a similar role but at a rate much less than what I was earning before. Were they firing high-cost employees just to rehire them at a lower cost, and is this legal?

Will the answer “it depends” but “unlikely” be satisfactory? An employer may decide that they can’t afford their current pay structure and reduce compensation, provided it isn’t to target employees by a protected class like age, race, gender and so on.

Usually, employees have the right to receive severance and unemployment in such a scenario, because that is a material change in their employment. If the employer is willing to hire you back under their new pay structure, that is a good sign that they want to keep you on. Or, you can always decline.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. Hear Greg Wed. at 9:35 a.m. on iHeartRadio 710 WOR with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. Email: [email protected]. Follow: and on Twitter: @GregGiangrande

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