Employers Beware: Office Parties Come With Liability
Employers beware! Holiday parties, while a great source of fun, can also lead to certain liabilities. Many companies throw parties at the end of the year in order to give their employees a chance to let loose and get to know each other in a more informal setting. They can be a highly entertaining, but if you are not careful, they could result in inconveniences, injuries and potentially lawsuits if you are not careful. Take the necessary steps to limit your liability and to prevent any issues from occurring in the first place.
Types of Issues That Can Come Up With Holiday Parties
One of the most common problems that arise with holiday parties is an employee consuming too much alcohol. Getting inebriated can be extremely dangerous if employees are allowed to drive themselves home, but it can also cause problems at the actual party. Employers beware of workers who get a little out of hand and start harassing the other guests. Sexual harassment has been known to occur as well as fighting. Even if the event takes place in a different location from the office, you could still be seen as liable because you are the one overseeing the festivities.
Another problem that can happen is a slip and fall injury. Serving food and refreshments means that sometimes drinks will fall to the floor. People may slip on the substance, and again, you could be seen as the one responsible because you organized the event. It can be beneficial to have someone at the ready to clean up any messes that develop.
Take Precautions With Alcohol
The safest course of action to take is often to not serve alcohol at all. If you do decide to have drinks, then there are some things you can do in order to reduce the risk of problems, including:
-Give your employees drink tickets so that they cannot consume too much alcohol during the party.
-Close the bar at a certain hour.
-Acquire special insurance that includes alcohol liability coverage.
-Ask if some of your employees want to be designated drivers for the event. This action will prove to be more fruitful if you offer incentives to the designated drivers. At the very least, make sure some form of transportation will be provided.
-Make sure you hire professional bartenders who know when to cut people off and to keep an eye on anyone who gets a little too unruly.
-Have plenty of food available to help reduce the effects of the alcohol.
Employers beware: some employees may try to sneak in some alcohol of their own. It can be beneficial to check employees before they enter the party and to state very clearly before the party date that anyone who brings their own alcohol will face severe consequences.
Other Precautions to Take
Even though the party will likely take place somewhere other than the office and will occur off-hours, you still need to emphasize that all company policies are still in place. Before the event, you should consider distributing your organization’s anti-harassment policy just to emphasize that any inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated and that punishments will occur if any rules are broken. It may also be a good idea to set a clear time when the party is going to end. At this time, you can stop playing music and serving drinks. You should also inform the higher-ups in your organization to set an appropriate tone. While they should be allowed to have a little fun as well, you want them to set an example. Seeing a supervisor get excessively inebriated may give some of your other workers the wrong impression. Remember, you still need to work with these people once the party is over.
Employers beware: if you are hosting a Christmas party, then you definitely should not hang any mistletoe. You should also make sure that there are no candles or flammable objects in the vicinity. Another consideration to be mindful of is to have an invitation list. Telling your employees that they can bring a spouse or friend can be fun, but you do not want someone bringing a group of people you have never met before. Inform everyone of what the invitation list is going to be like.
It is much better to be overly cautious than try to be the ïcoolï boss and not take the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. Although employers beware of potential lawsuits, it is still possible to have a ton of fun at a corporate party. For more resources on how to create a sustainable work environment, browse through other Mighty Recruiter resources.