Posted By:

Cheryl Miles on July 10, 2014

Legal Issues for Employers to Consider Before a Summer Party

With summer in full swing, it’s a popular time of the year for companies to hold parties and get-togethers. Not only is this a great way for everyone to rewind and relax, but it’s also an opportunity to build camaraderie among team members. However, one thing that employers sometimes forget about is the potential legal complications that can arise from an event like this. For that reason, here are some legal issues for employers to consider and precautions to avoid problems.


Serving Alcoholic Drinks

If you’re planning on serving alcohol, there are definitely some steps you should take to keep everything safe. First of all, it’s smart to have your party at a commercial establishment like a restaurant or hotel that’s licensed and responsible for monitoring alcohol consumption. Bartenders or wait staff should check IDs and ensure that any under aged employees on hand are not served alcohol.

An open bar isn’t usually a good idea because it’s more difficult to keep tabs on alcohol intake, and some employees may be more inclined to overdo it. It’s also smart to serve food along with alcohol and to stop serving drinks at least an hour before the event ends.


Means of Transportation

The last thing you want to deal with is your employees drinking and driving after a summer party ends. It’s obviously dangerous and can put you in some serious legal backwater if someone is in an accident. Accordingly, you should make transportation arrangements well beforehand. One option is to have employees who plan on drinking leave their vehicles at home and provide them with taxi or public transportation vouchers. You could also arrange to have a few designated drivers on hand who are responsible for driving everyone home afterward.


Regulating Employee Conduct

Because team members won’t be in a regular workplace setting, it’s possible for some individuals to get out of hand. This can be amplified when alcohol is present and inhibitions may be lowered. One problem in particular is harassment, which can potentially result in your business getting hit with a human rights or health and safety complaint from an employee who was harassed at your party.

For that reason, you should set some policies to minimize the chance of bad behavior occurring. This might include distributing your company’s anti-harassment policy a day or two before the event, limiting the number of alcoholic drinks employees can have and setting a dress code like no bathing suits and cut-offs.


Insurance Coverage for Injuries

While this may not apply to all summer parties, there can be legal issues for employers when workers are engaging in recreational activities like basketball and volleyball. In the event that someone got injured while participating, it could bring about a potential lawsuit and other complications you don’t want to deal with. That’s why it’s smart to make sure that the organization where you will be hosting the event has insurance coverage for accidents and injuries.

By being proactive and thinking about potential legal issues beforehand, you can plan a great summer party that’s a hit. At the same time, you can have peace of mind and enjoy the event without having to worry about worst-case scenarios.