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By December 1, 2008No Comments

Eggnog, latkes, old friends, new friends – and a whole lot of beveraging! Believe it or not, the holiday season is just around the corner. On behalf of everyone at HR That Works, let us be the first to wish you a safe and happy holiday!

We also want to remind you that as you plan your workplace holiday festivities, plan for the safe arrival home of every guest. For some time, it has been settled law that if a guest at a workplace event consumes alcohol, drives, and injures or damages someone or something (including themselves) the host employer can be held liable by the court any for damage. It’s not enough for a representative of the host employer to discourage guests from drinking and driving. Courts require more active intervention.

To protect your guests and others from harm, and your workplace from legal liability, consider these best practices:

  • Make sure that attendance at the party is voluntary.
  • Hire professional bartenders to serve alcohol; these people are trained to spot intoxicated revelers and how to handle them.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverage options.
  • Avoid an “open” bar; instead provide each guest with a limited number of drink tickets.
  • Have food of substance – not just chips and pretzels – served whenever alcohol is available.
  • Stop alcohol service two hours before ending the function.
  • Confront intoxicated guests immediately and cut them off; don’t wait until they are ready to leave the party.
  • Don’t inquire of an apparently impaired guest whether they think they’re able to drive home. The worst person to ask is the intoxicated person whose judgment is impaired; if you suspect that someone is unable to drive, don’t allow them to do so.
  • Have a taxi service available for any guest who requires one.
  • Call a friend or family member to pick up intoxicated guests.
  • Arrange for discounted rooms at the event location (if possible) or a nearby hotel.
  • Never allow anyone who appears intoxicated to get behind a wheel; if necessary, contact police for assistance.
  • Contact your insurer to discuss appropriate coverage for your event.

Provided by Worklaw® Network firm Sherrard Kuzz LLP of Toronto.