It’s that time of year again when we all reflect on the year past and plan holiday parties to thank all staff members for their hard work. Hosting a company party can create liability situations, however, so we thought we’d share 10 Tips from the the Insurance Information Institute on how to host a responsible party.

  1. Advise employees to be responsible. Include a statement on the party invitation and/or circulate a written reminder to all concerned on the responsibilities to drink only in moderation and to avoid driving after drinking.
  2. Emphasize to management that they must lead by example.
  3. Hold the party at an offsite location. If problems do arise, it is better that they occur away from the business premises. Depending on the state, the liability will generally be on the restaurant than the company. However, it is not unusual for an employer to be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit if an intoxicated employee leaves any company-sponsored event and injures himself or herself or another person as a result.
  4. Do not pay for alcoholic drinks. Guest will drink less if they have to pay for the drinks themselves.
  5. If you feel you must furnish alcoholic beverages, consider a drink voucher system to limit the number of drinks served. Or, serve alcohol for only a short period.
  6. Consider hiring a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and will limit consumption by partygoers.
  7. Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  8. Do not serve alcohol to minors.
  9. Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening and switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  10. Arrange alternative transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative transportation for all employees and guests and make special transportation arrangements in advance of the party. Encourage all employees and guests to make use of the alternative transportation if they consume any alcohol.

About PDI

PDI is an Indianapolis-based wholesale brokerage firm with a national network that includes thousands of insurance agents, brokers, architects, engineers and contractors in all 50 states. Since PDI’s beginning in 1980, we’ve handled a single line of coverage: errors & omissions (E&O) for design professionals.

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