Will Serving Alcohol At Company Functions Send The Wrong Message?

Will Serving Alcohol At Company Functions Send The Wrong Message?

by Shae H

You have been placed in charge of the company functions this year. Everyone is still talking about the Christmas party last year and you are excited to plan an event that is just as memorable. As much fun as this seems, there are a few things you should bear in mind before you plan the refreshments. The availability of alcohol at a company party can set the mood, be it good or bad. Wine with a planned dinner can add a touch of sophistication while an open bar can be an invitation for disaster.

Be Aware of Potential Risks

Every office has that one person that takes partying to the next level. This can be entertaining, but it can leave the company open to a number of legal issues. That person could be the picture of professionalism while sober, but after too many trips to the bar, they may become too friendly with people. The next thing you know, the company has a sexual harassment suit to contend with. Even though the party is off the clock and not work-related, the host, in this case, the company, can be liable for their employee’s actions.

After the Party

Once the party is over and everyone is heading home, beware of the level of intoxication of the employees. If an employee leaves after too much imbibing, then has a wreck, the employer can be held responsible for any injuries and damage caused by the employee. Make sure you are clear on your state’s laws on employer responsibility when deciding on beverages. If you need assistance, you should contact an attorney.

You Have Options

You can still be the life of the party without any harm coming to the company. Consider some alternatives to the all or nothing approach. Host the function at a restaurant with the option of wine with dinner. Hire a caterer to provide a bartender. This way you can set a drink limit the bartender will enforce. Hotels will often provide a room option when a party is held in their conference rooms. This will give anyone that has overindulged a safe choice for the night. Provide rides. Ask for designated drivers before the function or provide cab fares.

Company get-togethers can be a time of fun and relaxation, but if you or any of your guests do enjoy the festivities a bit too much, play it safe. Do not drive after the party. Live to party again next year.

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