Reducing Holiday Liability with ‘The Company Party Checklist’

By , December 14, 2011 2:24 pm

by Mary Whisner from Gallagher blogs

Ah, the office holiday party. At best, an awkwardly enjoyable fishbowl of free booze and treats on the company dime; at worst, a festival of liability that presents an open invitation to inappropriate canoodling,
drunken slurs, and unwanted advances amongst employees, any one of whom might one day quit and sue you for fostering a hostile work environment, citing events that occurred one fine December evening when everyone was “supposed to be” having a good time.

Catherine Dunn, Reducing Holiday Liability with ‘The Company Party Checklist’, Corporate Counsel (, Dec. 14, 2011.

cartoon on drunken employees at party

To reduce the risk of a “festival of liability,” Proskauer employment lawyer Enzo Der Boghossian offers a checklist for employers hosting parties:

  • Remind employees that the party is a work event.
  • Remind everyone of the company’s anti-harassment policy.
  • Hold the party at an establishment with a liquor license and professional bartenders who will cut off the people who have had too much.
  • Perhaps forgo alcohol altogether.
  • Review your insurance policy.

See also Tip of the Month: Holiday Parties – Simple Precautions to Prevent Post-Holiday Problems, Proskauer Client Alert, Dec. 9, 2009.

Even apart from potential liability, some of these tips could be applied to non-work parties.

Would you like some help tracking your own consumption? Check out Avvo’s Last Call iPhone app.  (See last year’s post.)

Graphic credit: mw, using SketchBook Pro iPad app.

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