Skip to main content

Publications

Nov 2011
11
November 11, 2011

What About Those Holiday Parties?


I saw a sign on a web site the other day that said something like this: “We will deck the halls in November. We prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time.” I thought that was kind of funny, particularly in light of the holiday advertisements already on TV in early October. And while it may be too early to put up the holiday decorations, it is not too early to start thinking about that old office tradition, the Holiday Party. And for HR people that means thinking about how you are going to keep the company out of trouble when one of your valued employees has a bit too much of the old holiday cheer.

To Serve or Not to Serve?  That is the Question.

More employers each year are seriously considering not serving alcohol at holiday parties. Instead, they plan a more family-friendly party without alcohol. (Remember, Mad Men is a TV show; not a lifestyle.)

If you are Going to Serve.

Don’t forget you may be held liable if you serve an employee who then gets in a car accident. Increasingly courts are finding social host liability for a host who serves excessive alcohol at a social event. Don’t forget that most likely you are not going to be protected by workers’ compensation if an employee gets hurt. The exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act will not be available if the injury occurs at a social event that was not a required part of work. You also want to be careful who you serve. Remember, it is not legal to serve alcohol to underage employees.

Take Charge.

As you plan this year’s holiday party, take proactive steps to protect yourself:
 
  • Distribute free taxi passes for rides home that evening and back to work the next day.
  • Reward employees who make plans to ride with a sober designated driver.
  • Limit the number of alcoholic beverages an employee consumes by providing each employee with a set number of beverage tickets and ensure that tickets are the only means of obtaining alcoholic beverages.
  • Designate a member of management who may be called upon to “monitor” employee drinking and assist anyone who has a need for special transportation that evening.

If you have any other questions, give us a call.

Happy Holidays!

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.

ACCEPTCANCEL

Text

+ -

Reset