The holiday office party season is upon us, but before you decide to serve alcohol at your company party this year you should be aware that there are potential legal liabilities, including injuries to your employees.
If you plan to serve alcohol, consider the following best practices to limit those legal liabilities:
• When sending out your invitations, be sure to include a statement that encourages employees to drink responsibly and in moderation at the event and to not drink and drive. Circulate another written reminder just before the party.
• Hire a professional bartending staff for the event; do not have a self-serve bar or open keg. Verify the bartending staff’s experience and ensure that they have proper insurance coverage.
• Limit the number of drinks each guest may consume or consider having a cash bar. You may wish to serve beer and wine only instead of offering a full bar.
• Always serve food so that employees are not drinking on an empty stomach.
• Offer a variety of beverages including non-alcoholic options. Consider having “mocktails”
(cocktails without alcohol) so that those who do not wish to drink can still feel included.
• Emphasize to management staff that they should lead by example and that they may need to intervene if a situation at the party crosses the line.
• Have alternate transportation, such as rented vans or cabs, available in case an employee has had too much to drink and needs a ride home.
BCN Services is here to help you. If you need assistance communicating to your employees regarding your company’s alcohol policy or if you have additional concerns about serving alcohol at your holiday party, please contact us.
Alicia Jester, Manager-Benefits and Payroll