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Can I just skip my lame office Zoom holiday party?

My boss is holding a virtual holiday party where we are supposed to wear an ugly sweater. He also wants us to do some stupid white elephant game by sending a gift to his assistant, who will then send them out to a random member of the team. I am Zoomed out, and this forced merriment might just push me over the edge. Do I have to participate?

Sounds like someone needs to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Listen, George Bailey, we are all Zoomed out and want to say goodbye to 2020 as fast as possible. In theory, you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do, but sometimes, it helps to just be silly with family, friends and, yes, even your colleagues, to help ease the tension and stress of daily life.

Maybe you don’t go out and buy one of those sweaters designed to win an ugly contest — or maybe you already have one in your closet that you didn’t mean to enter into a contest but would be a strong competitor anyway — but play along. And do the stupid white elephant game, too. It’s better than having to figure out the perfect real gift for someone at work. Now, that is stressful.

Can my employer restrict my travel plans this holiday season?

The government can restrict travel, and some government officials are trying to tell us how many family members we can celebrate Thanksgiving with. They are also urging that you don’t sing or shout. (Have they ever been to an Italian family gathering?)

Employers have to tread far more carefully. They can recommend that staff avoid travel and require employees to report any personal travel plans, given the workplace impact with possible infections, exposures and quarantines.

They can also require compliance with any current CDC travel restrictions.

However, restricting any personal travel beyond what the government mandates is unchartered territory, so it’s highly unlikely to be strictly prohibited.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com, dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work.

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