The Professional Liabilities of a Company Christmas Party

For many businesses, the yearly company Christmas party is one of the best nights of the year. It lets you get to know your team, enjoy the festive spirit of the holidays, relieve stress, and spend time with your coworkers without the pressure of work weighing down on you. But while this event is a very fun one for your team, it is also an event that comes with a number of potential liabilities. You don’t want this fun event to ruin the festive mood and kick off your 2018 with lawsuits, so make sure you have Professional Liability Insurance in place and remind your team about certain codes of conduct prior to the event.

Sexual Harassment

You may not be at the office, and you may be in a social environment, but make sure that all of your employees are aware that the holiday party is still a professional event and should be treated as such, and unfortunately it is all too easy for an employee to have too much to drink or get caught up in the party environment and say something that they shouldn’t say, or do something that they shouldn’t do. Make sure to have an Employment Practices Liability policy for an event such as this, and prior to the event circulate a memo or make an announcement about expected behavior during the party.

Alcohol-Related Issues

This is the largest issue, as it has the potential to lead to so many different issues. Someone could have too much to drink and say something that they regret (as mentioned above), someone could drive home and get into an accident or legal trouble after being overserved, someone could injure themselves, someone could cause property damage, someone could drink themselves to the point of sickness, an underaged employee could consume alcohol, and much more.

One step to circumventing this is reducing the availability of alcohol. Rather than having an open bar, consider having alcoholic beverages be available of purchase, provide a set number of drink tickets, or have a set time period for which alcohol will be served. People will drink less if alcohol is not made freely and readily available. If you do have a bar at your event, hire a professional bartender who will be able to spot the signs of excessive intoxication or a fake ID, and will be able to alert management to a potential situation. We also encourage you to provide alternate transportation if possible, or encourage employees to take an Uber, Lyft, or cab home if they plan on drinking at the event.

Employee Pressure

A holiday party is a time to celebrate, and it’s important that your employees feel that the party is a fun, after-hours event. Insurance Business Magazine stresses that you do not require attendance from any employee, do not hold the event during work hours, do not provide any incentives for attending (such as bonuses) other than festive fun, and allow (or even encourage) employees to bring their partners or another plus-one. While you want your team members to remember to have a professional attitude, this event is not just another day at the office.

About Axis Insurance Services

At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (201) 847-9175 to speak with one of our professionals.

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