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10 Ways to Protect Your Business from the Liabilities of Company Holiday Parties

November 10, 2015

bryan_johnsonAhh…the holiday party. Tis the season for fun, laughter…and lawsuits. We don’t want to be “The Debbie Downer” for the holidays, but it is our job to make sure you are protected!  So here goes: Anytime there is alcohol involved there is risk to a business or even to a homeowner!

The Liabilities and What You Can Do About Them

Did you know that in some states, employers are responsible for what their employees do after they leave a holiday party intoxicated? This means that if an employee’s blood alcohol level is higher than the legal limit, and that person gets in an accident that injures or kills someone, the employer could be held responsible. Scary? Of course it is.

Be sure to remind employees to drink responsibly. Consider writing it down – in the invitation, on a poster or in inter-office email.

  1. Consider holding the party at a restaurant. If something should happen, some states will place responsibility on the restaurant’s owner.
  2. You could make employees pay for their own drinks – sure, this isn’t as fun for the employees but it may reduce the amount of alcohol that is consumedWine
  3. Ensure there is adequate food to offset the amount of alcohol consumed.
  4. Ask the bartender to stop serving anyone who seems drunk. This is really obvious – but better safe than sorry.  Have someone within your company keep an eye on things.
  5. Stop serving alcohol about two hours before the end of the party. Serve coffee, tea, and other non-alcoholic drinks.
  6. Take car keys from everyone as they enter the party – and return them as people leave – only if they are capable of driving.
  7. Arrange for alternative transportation such as a taxi, bus, or limo service – free of charge!
  8. Leaders – limit your alcohol consumption. Few people will drink more than the boss – it just looks bad.
  9. Make sure alcohol is not served to minors.  Again, this is obvious – but have checks and balances in place.

Before you have your holiday party, give Founders a call to ensure your insurance policy coverage will protect you. You made need to add a liquor liability policy or take out an event policy to make sure you are properly covered.

Just because there are risks when holding a holiday party, don’t rule it out. You can still show your employees a good time, just be safe about it. With a solid business insurance policy, you can protect your business, your employees AND have a great time.

Bryan Johnson

P&C Operations Manager

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