The Festive Season will be upon us in a few short weeks. If you're planning on holding a company sponsored office holiday party, especially where alcohol is served, then this article will be of interest to you.
The law imposes a duty on employers to provide a safe workplace and protect employees from harm, including harm resulting from an employee's own actions. "Harm" can mean physical harm, damage to property and violence, but also consists of sexual and other forms of harassment. Employers can also be held liable for injuries or damages caused by an employee to themselves and/or to a third party after an employee gets drunk at a company-sponsored event. An example of this would be if an employee who has had too much to drink at an office holiday party causes an accident while driving home.
Although the law is not yet definitive in this area, to reduce their potential legal liability, employers need not forbid alcohol consumption at company-sponsored events, nor eliminate such events altogether. However, there are a number of precautions that employers can take to ensure that these occasions are both safe and enjoyable. Here are a few dos and don'ts for employers:
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Dave Hagel is a Certified Human Resources Professional and President of High Performance Human Resources, a company that specializes in providing human resources services to small to medium sized entrepreneurs. You can reach him at email@example.com or phone, toll-free 1.866.878.4134.
Added on July 07, 2006