With the holidays approaching, attention is now turning to celebrating with family, friends, and coworkers at the company holiday party. Many organizations are in the process of planning the festivities and various liability issues need to be addressed when organizing a party. Incidents are more likely to occur if alcohol is involved. Employers should be concerned with the possible repercussions from intoxicated guests. For example, liability can incur from the following: drunk driving accidents, underage drinking, discrimination claims, premises to liability, workers’ compensation (for falls), and injury to third parties.
Below are some guidelines organizations should consider for planning and managing company holiday parties:
- If hiring a third party vendor, verify that they are licensed, bonded, and insured (regardless of function). Request a certificate of insurance and make sure that they have adequate coverage. Ask your attorney or broker what coverage that vendors and your organization need to be sure that there is adequate coverage.
- Contract- after hiring the third party vender, obtain a signed contract that will outline the functions and services the vendor will provide. Make sure that the contract is as specific as possible to the event, verify there is a hold-harmless clause (in the event of a vendor-related injury), and have your attorney review the contract before signing.
- Serving alcohol- If your organization plans on having alcohol served at your company party, be sure to hire a bartending service that insures its employees against liquor- related liabilities. The bartending-service staff will pose specific liability risks, so it is important that only the bartender service handle drinks and check IDs. Hosts should never pour or mix alcohol, this can increase personal liability risk. If there is a guest who appears to be intoxicated, be sure that they are cut off and that they do not drive themselves home. Hosts should consider appointing a trusted party attendee to help monitor the guest’s alcohol consumption as the host will have to pay attention to other activities.
- Be sure that walkways and paths are accessible and clear, to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Walkways should be lighted and signs should be posted to notify guests to watch their step.
These are just a few tips to consider to ensure that the party is safe and fun for the guests involved. Be sure to check with your attorney for any contracts or liability concerns. Also, check with your insurance broker for special events liability coverage. If you have any questions, or would like a special events quote, please contact us we are here to help.
We hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday!
*This article is intended for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.