Jerryto is a manufacturer of car parts and always holds its office party twice a year. This year is no different, and the company prepares its site for the bash, including putting up tables, paying for entertainment, and organizing for food and drinks for the bash.
The company doesn’t hire caterers to serve the food and drinks; instead, they encourage their managers to attend to the people attending. The party kicks off at 6 pm, and many people are in attendance ranging from other business owners to neighbors. They are dancing, and many are enjoying the free food and alcohol. Tom, One of the employees from a nearby restaurant, is already drunk.
He is slurring on his words and stumbling around, and still makes a beeline to the counter for another drink. Anne, who is already intoxicated, doesn’t recognize that tom is already drunk, and gives him another drink.
The party ends at 10 pm, and everyone heads home, smiling and happy. On the way back home, tom runs a red light and crashes into a car carrying a family. Two kids in the family car perish on the spot.
The parents of the two kids bring a lawsuit against Jerryto for the death of the kids. Is Jerryto in trouble?
For many people, the office party is a time to unwind and have fun. It’s simple, the office hosts a party, and their clients come together to have fun and interact with the employees.However, most of the employers throw caution to the wind during this time of the year, and the event is highly likely to end up with unpleasant results.
While we don’t want to scare you from having a party for your company, we need to address what happens at these events and what it means for your company.
As an asset protection lawyer, I emphasize the need for reigning in employee liability. Many companies don’t set clear rules and expectations from their staff and lack that set of well-enforced expectations to make things work the way they need to during these events.
Here are a few tips to consider during party planning:
Lead by Example
Your employees will follow what you do or say during the party. If they realize that you are free with alcohol, and you are encouraging them to drink more, they will also get into the mood and drink to their fill.
Keep in mind that when you decide to enforce rules, they apply to everyone in the company, whether employees, low or high-level managers.
Dictate a Dress CodeYou want to make all the employees and visitors understand that this is a business event and not a personal one. Make sure you set an appropriate dress code and so that they dress well for the party. Communicate the dress code in advance so that your visitors don’t get embarrassed.
Control of Alcohol Consumption
You don’t need to abstain from serving alcohol altogether, instead has some level of control when it comes to the drinks.
Remember that since you are the one that organized the event, you are fully responsible for the issues that crop up during and even after the event – both good and bad. You also have responsibility is also for the people that might injure others (that didn’t attend the party) or themselves due to excessive drinking.
For this to happen, limit access to the bar to just a few hours, or make sure you limit the maximum number of drinks a person can take. Talk to an asset protection lawyer to guide you on what to do to control alcohol consumption.
Review the Venue and Limit Access
Handling your employees and a few visitors is easy during the day because they know what their boundaries are. However, after a few cocktails, the lines become blurred, and they don’t stick to the rules that you come up with.
This is why you must host your party offsite, where you can transfer the liability to someone else. When choosing a venue, make sure it doesn’t create additional liabilities.
If the logistics don’t enable you to use an offsite venue, make sure you secure the site at your office and limit access to sensitive parts of the office. Items that are dangerous, sensitive, or controlled need to be off-limits to all the people during the event.
Protect Your Employees, and Visitors
When you own a company, you are liable for anything that happens in any event that you organize. Work with a New York asset protection attorney to get tips on how to secure your event. Remember, a lawsuit can arise from an irresponsible action that an employee made without your permission.