What Small Business Owners Need to Know: Celebrating at Work and Legal Liabilities

As a business owner, manager, or supervisor, you understand the importance of making your employees feel acknowledged and appreciated.  So, when it comes to celebrating your employees for their special milestones and achievements, we are all for it!  We also embrace the idea of taking time to celebrate other special moments with your staff!

If you are considering taking some time out with your business staff to celebrate the holidays, you’ll need to decide where the activity will take place, who will cover the costs, and other logistics.  As you make these decisions, here are a few more things to keep in mind.

Companies that Cater to Millennials

Some more progressive offices catering to Millennials are now not only permitting, but also offering alcoholic beverages as a perk in the workplace.  These other companies may view the benefits of permitting alcohol to include increased socialization within the organization and consequently improving employee collaboration as well as promoting more open, creative thinking.  Moreover, they believe the laid-back atmosphere attracts their target employees:  Millennials.  Companies allowing alcohol are typically in urban areas where employees walk or take public transportation to and from work – and these companies don’t usually play in the healthcare, transportation or construction-related industries.

However, when it comes to alcohol in the workplace, we believe that the safest and best practice is simply not allowing it.  Avoiding alcohol consumption in the office is best to prevent any danger or injuries to employees, customers, suppliers, or others.  In addition, the following are important drawbacks associated with permitting alcohol in the workplace.

Alcohol in the Workplace Drawbacks

  • May increase alcohol temptation and dependence, especially for recovering alcoholics
  • Excludes staff members who do not drink
  • Can change the culture of the workplace
  • May increase risk of potential sexual harassment cases
  • Leaves the company liable for any alcohol-related incidents or accidents

Potential Liability Claims

What types of liability claims more commonly arise from a work event involving alcohol?

  • Workers’ compensation claims may arise if an employee is injured during a company event.
  • Sexual harassment claims may arise if an employee engages in unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or behavior with another individual. These claims are more common during work events and parties, especially when alcohol is present, and inhibitions are lower.

Reduce Company Risk

Since the company may be liable for any incidents or accidents that occur at the office, or even after the event, the best way to reduce liability is to avoid serving alcohol.  If the company feels compelled to offer alcoholic beverages, then the company should:

  • Limit alcohol consumption (consider giving each employee two drink tickets)
  • Ensure that attendees under 21 are not served alcoholic beverages
  • Serve plenty of food options to go along with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Make attendance voluntary and consider hosting it offsite and outside of work hours
  • Provide safe transportation home after the event

We believe in celebrating our employees and creating an inclusive, enjoyable work environment.  Work anniversary or holiday parties are a great way to let employees know they are truly appreciated!  As you plan these events, be sure to delineate your company policy on alcohol and make sure to reduce any potential risks at these events.

If your company or employees were involved in an incident or accident related to a work event or celebration, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. may be able to help.  Contact us at (954) 428-9333 or www.goldmandaszkal.com.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.