16 Nov. 2018

Office Holiday Parties: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Unwanted Liability

Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez

‘Tis the season of busy schedules filled with family events and holiday gatherings and fun office holiday parties! Office year-end events are a wonderful way to show your appreciation for your staff’s hard work and they are a great way for people to connect and relax outside of a work setting. While these parties are usually a great time, there are simple precautions that you as a business owner should take to ensure a safe gathering for everyone that is free from any unwanted holiday party liabilities.

1. Make sure your employees know that attendance is optional.

2. Hold your party outside of normal business hours to prevent wage and hour claims by non-exempt employees.

3. Have your gathering somewhere other than the office.

4. Do not discuss work related issues during your gathering, or give anyone a task to complete.

5. Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options so employees do not feel pressured to consume alcohol, or use drink tickets to avoid excessive drinking.

Hosting the event outside of normal business hours, not at the office, and stressing the fact that it is not mandatory helps prevent workers’ compensation claims in the event an employee is injured.

In regards to alcohol, if you choose to serve it at a holiday function, be sure to do so responsibly. Keep in mind that as an employer you may be liable for injuries or conduct that occur due to over-consumption at the party. Social host liability is often based on “dram shop” laws—or state statutes that prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors and hold distributors responsible for alcohol-related injuries.

For the most part, these laws only apply to companies in the business of selling alcohol, such as bars or restaurants. In Florida, these laws only apply under two circumstances: when alcohol is served to a minor and when alcohol is served to an individual with a known alcoholic addiction.

While this list is not exhaustive, it should provide a few simple tips to follow when planning and throwing your office holiday party. Should you have any additional questions, contact one of our experienced, Tampa-based personal injury attorneys.

At Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, we handle all types of personal injury claims, including premise liability, workplace injuries, slip-and-falls, and auto accidents.

Call 813.774.3341 today to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced, highly-praised team.

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