Alcohol Liabilities When it Comes to Your Insurance

Company parties and client get-togethers can be a ton of fun in the workplace. However, if you don’t understand your risks and liabilities as a business, a ton of fun could suddenly come crashing down. Although you probably don’t need one more thing to do as you pull your event details together, a good review of your business liability policy will be needed. Especially if alcohol will be involved.

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Sure he's the life of the party. Just make sure he doesn't go home and sue you later.

Why Alcohol Liability?

If McDonalds has to be concerned about someone not realizing the fresh coffee they just spilled on their hand is hot – you need to be concerned about business liability, too. Because let’s face it together – the world isn’t as rose-colored as we’d like it to be sometimes. While things usually go “OK” and the good side of the human race plays out – there are those rare incidences where individuals would rather try and sue a business, claiming that they’re not persoanlly responsible for their actions or misunderstandings. Thus, the “CAUTION: HOT BEVERAGE” disclaimer on nearly all insulated cups designed to hold…  a hot beverage.

Alcohol liability can come into play if your business is hosting an event where alcohol is served. Your liabilities will vary by your state laws, but the location of your party, who is serving the beverages and if minors are present can all come into play. It’s critical that you know your risks if you’re hosting an event serving up a little bubbly, and consult with your lawyer/attorney on the best way to reduce your business liability risk.

What to Look Into If Alcohol is At Your Company Party

If you are in the business where alcohol is appropriate for your office social event or client get together, review your liabilities with your lawyer. Your policy might detail what you will and won’t be responsible for when it comes to your employees and guests’ alcohol consumption. While each policy may read differently, here are few things to review before the day of the event arrives:

  • Will minors be at the event? How can you make sure alcohol isn’t served to underage drinkers?
  • Where will the event be located? An event hosted at a facility with a liquor license is usually safer and carries less liability risk for you.
  • Who will be hosting? Does the host know to NOT encourage excessive drinking?
  • Is the understanding of “visibly intoxicated” clear?
  • Make sure the employee handbook states that any events with alcohol are optional.
  • Schedule events with alcohol after business hours.

Many ideas came from Employee Liability Law – click here for more alcohol liability questions to ask your lawyer.

Drunk Employees

In the event you are dealing with drunk employees – either at a company-hosted party or not, make sure you have a clear plan on how to deal with alcohol in the workplace. Alcohol testing for your employee might be a good first step to get a gauge on a situation and build in accountability. And always remember, if your party gets out of hand, there’s nothing wrong with serving Coke and staying sober.

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