Planning your company holiday party? Do you ask yourself this question: What could I do to help make sure that my company holiday party is safe for all?
As the holiday season draws near, many businesses like to plan a company holiday party to enjoy time with staff. Since this kind of party is only once a year, it's easy to overlook safety even though you already incorporate it into the other aspects of your operations.
After you have read tips for business parties, you may also want to come back and check out this article on hosting parties in your home and serving alcohol.
While you obviously want your staff to relax and have fun at your holiday party, you also want to make sure they get home safely and that nobody gets hurt or sick at your party. This takes planning and consideration.
Some of your safety priorities should be
- Liquor consumption,
- Safety on the premises of your party, and
- Food-borne illnesses.
Due to their infrequent nature, the liability risks of company-sponsored holiday events are often overlooked. To ensure the health and well-being of all who attend, it is important to be aware of any potential liability concerns that your company may face if the event doesn't go exactly as planned.
Safety and Other Liability Issues When Hosting a Company Party
- While you want your staff to enjoy themselves, safety should still be your top priority during the holidays.
- Applying your workplace policies on behavior including those on violence, harassment, discrimination and the general code of conduct, even if you've chosen a venue other than your workplace. Prior to the event, let employees know the standards to which they will be held.
- Making sure your staff knows that the event is optional and it won't reflect poorly on their performance evaluation, advancement potential or job security if they don't attend. Emphasize this in all invitations and announcements should emphasize this point.
- Making sure that the party is not tied to any specific religious tradition and is referred to as a "holiday party."
- Monitoring employee's behavior to ensure that it conforms to company policies. Take prompt action if any activity or behavior exceeds acceptable bounds. For instance, if someone is getting too friendly, carrying a mistletoe and asking for kisses from others, you should pull the person aside and discreetly to manage the incident before it becomes a bigger issue.
- Limiting alcohol consumption, which can help avoid impaired decision making and lowering inhibitions which can lead to poor behaviors.
- Taking complaints that stem from the party seriously. As you would with any other incident, document, investigate and take appropriate action.
Considerations with Serving Alcohol and Company Parties
Some companies have recognized the liability exposure that serving alcohol represents and have chosen to hold holiday events free of beer, wine, or liquor. If it will be served, there are some important considerations that can help to limit potential problems:
- Hold the event at an off-site location and hire professional bartenders who have their own insurance and are certified for alcohol service. Speak with the vendor to determine what protocols it uses to keep from serving minors and others who are visibly intoxicated.
- Make sure an array of choices of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Don't have an open bar. Instead hand out drink tickets to control consumption.
- Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the event ends.
- Keep lots of starchy and high-protein snacks for the partyers to munch on to slow absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
- Give a supervisor or manager the authority to cut off anyone who is intoxicated.
- Provide alternative transportation that may include free cab rides.
A Word about Insurance and Vendors at your Company Party
Make sure you that any vendors you use, carry insurance. Insist on seeing the certificates of insurance with sufficient coverage and liability limits for:
- Catering firms,
- Bartending firms,
- Facilities, or
When reviewing rental contracts, be sure to note any hold harmless or indemnity agreements that could release the vendor from liability and instead hold your company responsible for losses from situations over which you have no control. You might also want to check out our article on why a business must protect themselves and not let vendor laibilities become your liability.
If you are a business owner in Massachusetts or this general region and you would like to find some options for your business insurance, call us today at 617-846-5000, or, you can click on the button below 24/7 and we will do our absolute best to get back to you either today or by the next business day.
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