The annual holiday office party can be joyous, joyous, memorable. . .and hazardous to the financial health of the business. But without careful preparation, you might wind up getting sued for what occurs in your party. . .or what happens AFTER your party.
I am setting”office party” within an employer-sponsored party, such as parties where business partners, employee spouses or”significant others” are invited. For example an insurance adjuster, I understand many vendors, such as accounting firms and fire restoration contractors, that encourage adjusters and insurance company personnel to their parties. The adult beverages flow openly at these parties.
If you’re hosting a business holiday party, here are Top Tips to keep you from a lawsuit.
Before holiday parties, ship out interoffice memos, do bulletin board postings or have meetings in which you advocate moderation, and softly explain the steps that will be taken to guarantee a secure and productive party. It could be a fantastic idea to distribute your party program in writing to all employees and invitees.
Schedule the party on a weekend or after regular business hours.
Hold the party for an offsite location. Better if problems arise away from the business premises.
Don’t require employees to attend as a condition of their job.
Don’t take attendance at the party.
Create the party a family occasion, including spouses and kids.
Assign certain managers or managers as”hosts” to oversee the occasion.
Don’t pay for beverages. Client will drink less if they have to pay for beverages themselves.
If you believe you must furnish alcoholic beverages, consider a drink voucher system to limit the number of beverages served. Or, serve alcohol for only a brief period.
Don’t sell alcoholic beverages at the party. No cash bar organized by the employer. If your party is in a place that has its liquor permit, and guests purchase drinks at their bar, so be it. But you still must make certain they arrive home safely.
Employ another bartender or caterer to serve alcohol. He’ll know better when to say’No’ to a guest who has had one too many. The hired bartender should have his own liability insurance and provide you a copy of his insurance policy certification BEFORE the party. Instruct the bartender/caterer to inform an proper event supervisor if he finds somebody who’s had a lot to drink.
Serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverages: water, juices, sodas, coffee, tea.
Arrange transportation for intoxicated employees. Call a taxi, use designated drivers, or offer discounted or free rooms when the party is held at a hotel.
Remember that even if you carry adequate insurance, known as”host liquor liability insurance policy,” it will likely not afford coverage for your business if alcoholic beverages are being sold at your party. You should buy additional liquor liability insurance policy before the party.
13.5 Another huge potential problem is dealing with a sexual harassment suit due to an event in the party. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and you could get an employee who files a grievance or litigation against another employee and the business. . .or even against the other guest. .
Mention this possible issue for your party”hosts,” and have them be alert to employees or guests who are”overly friendly” with other people at the party.
Lastly, make sure you investigate ALL complaints. If you merely ignore or shrug off infections, your business may be in worse trouble than if you simply deal with this.
In closing, don’t look at this post as a”buzz kill.” Consider that I am the lighthouse on the coast, alerting you to the rocks and shoals. Prevent them, and your”voyage” will be a happy one!
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