News

Is Your Business Prepared for its Holiday Party?

December 10, 2015

Business Holiday Parties

The Holiday Season is upon us, which means many South Florida businesses and employers are planning their office holiday parties and events.   It is never too soon to review and update your policies, procedures, and guidelines which may help make your company’s office party safer and help you recognize any potential liability or exposure.
One of the biggest areas of concerns involves the service of alcoholic beverages at office holiday parties. Here are some things your business or company should consider:

  • Always make sure a third party is serving drinks.
  • Set limits, or serve only certain types of beverages (e.g. beer/wine) to limit consumption.
  • Offer (at the company’s expense) transportation, such as taxi’s, bus, Uber, RedCap, or limousine services,  and issue written policies against driving if employees consume alcohol unless you have a designated driver.
  • Consider an alcohol free party, family oriented, or daytime lunch/brunch instead. Offer alternatives to alcohol and clearly convey safe and responsible behavior.
  • If a party is during the week, rather than over the weekend, employees are less likely to overindulge, drink, or stay out late.

There are other things you should consider.  Attendance at an office party should not be mandatory.   Your insurance should be up to date and you should make sure you have appropriate liability insurance and coverage in place. Above all, normal work rules, normal standards, and common sense apply.  Your business policy and procedures, or Employee Handbook, should contain detailed and clear substance abuse, anti-drug, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment policies.  Employees should also be reminded about appropriate behavior at the work function, and they should be reminded about the issues from postings on social media and networking sites like Facebook or Twitter (whether it is their own postings or postings by other individuals).  In addtioin to having policies in place for the general operation of your company, it is very important that businesses of all sizes have clear and unequivocal polices in place prior to an office party so there is no misunderstanding and try to eliminate potential liability. An office newsletter, email or other communication is the best way to address these issues if they are not already addressed in other written policies. Please note, there is never too much you can do to be safe, so this article is not all inclusive of the methods to prevent issues that could arise from an office holiday party.

In the event your business does not have an Employee Handbook, policies/procedures, or other employment-related documents, contact Marshall Socarras Grant, P.L. at 561.361.1000 or info@msglaw.com so we can evaluate your needs. The lawyers at Marshall Socarras Grant, P.L. in Boca Raton, Florida, practice in the areas of commercial litigation and business lawemployment and labor law, and general civil litigation.   The firm provides consultation, negotiation and litigation services for various problems encountered in the workplace. The firm delivers strategic advice and partners with its clients to find legal solutions to those problems often faced by executives, professionals, and businesses of all sizes.

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