Reducing Employer Risk from Holiday Parties

The holiday season has arrived, and many employers will hold their traditional year-end parties in the coming weeks. Holiday parties are intended to thank employees and encourage fellowship, but employers may be held liable for any disasters that occur on such parties.

Bullying, sexual harassment, intoxication, car accidents and other forms of misconduct are all potential issues at holiday parties. Employers can’t completely remove the risk of legal responsibility associated with business events, but they may establish an environment and create safety measures that reduce it. Employees can have a good time during the holidays as long as basic health and safety precautions are taken at all times. When assessing their possible holiday-party responsibility, employers should examine the following issues and take steps to overcome them.

Restrict Alcohol Use 

Individuals are unaware of what restricting alcohol at a company holiday party entails, especially when employees have expectations that include being permitted to drink. A strict company policy must be prepared for everyone to follow. While a non-alcoholic beverage serving party remains the best option, in the event alcohol is being served, the following considerations should be followed:

  • Set guidelines for when and how much alcohol will be served. Work with your supplier or event team to only serve alcohol during dinner; use controlled/light pour, set a cut-off time, and/or limit guests to two drinks per person.
  • Executives should not be allowed to drink or suggest a one alcoholic beverage limit if this is too limiting. At your holiday party, your leaders should be the company’s key representatives?. This isn’t to suggest they shouldn’t have fun, but they should make sure others are comfortable and on their best behavior as well and set a good example.
  • Make sure there is enough food to go around. While hors d’oeuvres or sit-down dinners may be more cost-effective, it’s better to make food the focal point of your gathering rather than drinks.

Employ Uber or any other Ride-sharing App

No matter how carefully you serve drinks, someone will overindulge at your gathering. That person should not be driving away from your gathering. That intoxicated person might injure someone while driving home.

The answer is simple: you should provide transportation for your employees and guests to and from the event. Some employers may become irritated upon hearing this suggestion, assuming that it is just another unrecoverable expense. However, it is well worth the money for at least two reasons: It will, first and foremost, allow you to safeguard your most valuable resource – your staff. The safety and well-being of your employees, their visitors, and the broader public should always be top of mind. Second, it will add an additional layer of protection in the event that one of your employees injures another person as a result of intoxication. To help offset the expense of this service, many transportation providers offer group discounts. It’s better to offer Uber rides or any other ride-sharing transport.

Exercising Leadership

Encourage senior executives to attend corporate events and remind them that their attendance and behavior will set the tone for the evening. Holiday parties are a terrific way for everyone to mingle with their coworkers and bosses in a more relaxed setting. Upper management may set a positive example at work parties by arriving on time, dressed appropriately, and eager to have a good time, just like they do in the office.

Assign Supervisors

Supervisors should be assigned for gatherings. Parties normally start off well, but once higher management has left, some employees may feel more at ease, believing that their inappropriate behavior will go unnoticed. Several designated sober supervisors should be dispersed throughout the celebration. They should be aware of inappropriate conduct, vocabulary, and signs that someone has had (consumed) too much alcohol.

Consider employing a security team for your event or enlisting the help of office managers to keep an eye on things.

Good Food

Many gatherings revolve around food and drink. Make contact with local caterers and request a catering menu. Before choosing a caterer, be sure to do your research and read reviews. Provide gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives to accommodate any dietary restrictions that employees and their guests may have.

Safe and Secure Place

If you’re throwing a party outside of the office, it’s crucial to plan ahead and select the best location. Consider locations in a safe area of town with easily accessible and secure parking spaces. Examine the area for any obvious hazards, such as wires that could be tripped over, and select appropriate decorations and food that will be simple to prepare. You should be aware of the venue’s emergency procedures and take note of the exits and safety precautions in place. Do not be hesitant to request to view their safety certifications to ensure that they are current.

At workplace events, you are responsible for the safety of your employees. To avoid liability, establish the guidelines and take the procedures outlined above. Holiday parties are excellent morale enhancers and should be enjoyable for all attendees. These suggestions can assist you in planning safe and enjoyable holiday office parties.

Insurance for Vendors

Make certain that any vendors you hire are covered by insurance. Insist on seeing insurance certificates with adequate coverage and liability limitations for: catering companies, bartending companies, facilities, and entertainers

When evaluating rental contracts, keep an eye out for any hold harmless or indemnity clauses that may absolve the vendor from liability while holding your organization liable for damages caused by circumstances over which you have no control.

Contact our Attorneys

When properly planned, workplace holiday parties may be a terrific way for everyone to relax – just make sure the employee celebrations don’t become employer liabilities. You must take the above security measures to limit your liability and avoid mishaps. The employment attorneys at The Walsh Law Firm, LLC in Florida are here to help you. Contact our office today!