Business liability at the office holiday party

Now that the holidays are here, one question that always comes up this time of year for business owners is: Who is liable if something goes wrong at the office holiday party?

There are a lot of scenarios that can happen at an office party that can raise liability issues. Each state has different laws regarding who is actually considered liable when accidents happen during or after a work related gathering like a holiday party. It is important that you are aware of your state’s laws when planning your office party.

One of the biggest issues is alcohol consumption. Being that you could face possible liability issues if one of your guests gets into an accident, is drinking underage, or is found driving under the influence, you will want to take extra precautions when it comes to alcohol at the party. Limit the amount of alcohol each guest is allowed. Having the event at a venue like a restaurant or catering hall with professional bartenders will help keep it in check. And never allow anyone who is underage or already intoxicated to drink.

Unfortunately, you may also come across some incidents of sexual harassment when employees get together outside of the work environment. Before the party, review your company’s sexual harassment policy and make any changes that you need to include work related events like parties. Meet with your employees and let them know that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Remove all questionable symbols that might not be accepted well with everyone (ie: mistletoe, etc.)

If you are throwing a holiday party for your employees, you want it to be a joyous occasion. Removing the fear of accidents and other liability issues is a great place to start. Call us and we can walk you through your business liability policy to see what type of coverage you currently have for office related events.