Bob Scribner is a human resources specialist who offers some sage advice for shops who host holiday parties.
As we head into the holiday season, businesses are planning holiday parties for their employees. Now, I enjoy these parties as much as the next person! It’s a time to count the blessings of the past year and to come together in a more social environment.
Don’t underestimate the potential liability that comes with serving alcohol at parties, especially if an employee is injured in a driving accident, or injures (or kills) someone after leaving the party. Or, what happens for the employee who’s scheduled to work after the party and makes a critical error on the job? This is not meant to be moral issue; it’s an issue of good judgment.
I recently heard of a company having an offsite office party and giving out cups of beer and Jell-O shots. The employees drove themselves to this party, and the company wasn’t checking ids. This was exasperating because this company could get into hot water if anything bad happened.
If you distribute free alcohol at an office party, you are responsible for the employees who consume the alcohol. So, for instance, say that one of your employees has a few beers and drives himself home, then gets pulled over. The police officer can smell the alcohol and has them take a breathalyzer test, which turns out to be just over the legal limit. Because you, the company, gave them the beer, there’s potential for you to get in trouble.
I love a party just as much as the other person, but I’m not willing to have my company at risk because I made alcohol a part of the festivities.
Find out more about Bob Scribner and his wife Doris at Executive Advantage.