In this day of litigation any company event can become a source for injury and liability. I will cover how to hold a company party with or without alcohol that will be safe and free of the danger of serious litigation.
Of course the route of serving no alcohol is the one with the least risk for litigation, however, with the mood and frivolity of the holidays there is still risk. The company may have near the same liability potential if employees bring their own libations. If they do, the company must control this as if it was served by the company. Too many companies have suffered the tragic loss or injury of an employee after an event. These are even tougher during the joy filled times holidays bring. Tougher yet is when you get that first subpoena and the family of the injured is asking “how did you let him/her drive home from the party if he/she was under the influence?” Many a case law is of record that companies do not fare well under any circumstance, alcohol provided or not. So, what are we to do?
Rules for Great Time, Reduced Risk
Not have a company holiday party? No, quite the contrary, with some proper planning and a little extra expense you can have a great time, serve some drinks, be the boss everyone loves and keep the wolves away.
The following rules apply if you are serving or not:
- Collect all car keys at the door, this can be made fun by giving a door prize ticket in exchange for keys. (Make it a nice gift) The person collecting the keys will be able to do a little “inventory” of condition at arrival and exit. If an employee is not capable of driving after the party, they just do not get the keys and alternative means of getting them home safely can be arranged.
- I suggest ahead of time renting a van or town car and driver for the night, or making suitable arrangements with a cab company. This or any plan that has the same effect will allow for a great party, no regrets and of course healthy happy employees.
Proper Planning Keeps Holidays Merry and Bright
I have seen several variations of holding exceptional holiday parties with great success. Smaller companies or those with greater financial resources have held parties at a hotel with rooms for the night for all attending; this can be a great event at the right place. Do though keep a close eye on all and key control is recommended even here.
Author Brian Hill is owner of OshaSure in Birmingham Alabama and has over 20 years as a workplace safety and risk consultant. Brian was previously a pilot for a major US airline and member of the company’s interdepartmental safety committee. He found his new career in safety after the closing of the airline in 1991. Brian has found the same passion he had for flying in assisting companies with safety, heath and risk issues.
For more information click on www.oshasure.com
Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
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