Holiday Party Tips: Ho Ho Hold the Liability

Tis the season for Holiday Parties

You want to get your employees together for a bit of holiday fun — but how can you share some holiday cheer without opening yourself up to potential liabilities.

The  Do’s and Don’ts for successful & safe company parties:

  • DOSet a tone of moderation before holiday parties through interoffice memos or meetings, reminding employees to be responsible.
  • DON’TRequire employees to attend as a condition of their employment.  Don’t take attendance at the event.
  • DOAssess the ability of attendees to get home safely. Arrange transportation for intoxicated employees, either by having designated drivers or by using a transportation service.
  • DON’TTake any complaints lightly, all need to be investigated. Failure to respond to any single complaint can lead to greater liability than the alleged misconduct.
  • DOHire a separate caterer to serve alcohol.  Instruct the caterer not to serve anyone who is visibly drunk, and to notify an appropriate person if insobriety is observed.
  • DON’TForget to discourage excessive drinking, and indicate what measures will be taken to ensure a safe event.  Make sure employees know “when to say when.”
  • DOConsider a voucher system to limit the number of drinks served, or serve alcohol for only a short period. Make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available. Make the party a family affair; include spouses and children. Inviting a guest seems to increase the number of designated drivers.
  • DON’THold holiday parties at your location. Hold the party at an offsite location to separate the festivities from work.
  • DODesignate certain supervisors or managers to oversee the event. Have them watch for employees who become “too friendly” with other people at the party.