Thursday, December 7, 2017
This is my annual plea for everyone going to or having a holiday party this year to be aware of the potential for serious liability. 'Tis the season for holiday parties, but there are risks to hosting these parties. Parties can boost friend’s morale, however, there are inherent risks that accompany hosting this type of party, particularly during the holidays and when inhibitions are lowered with alcohol and a festive atmosphere. Here are some tips to avoid legal "hangovers" from hosting holiday parties and mitigate the risks to you and your friends.
1. Lessen the Risk of Inappropriate Liaisons
Consider allowing guests to bring a spouse or other guest, or perhaps make the party a family event. Although expanding the guest list increases costs, it also may result in guests behaving more appropriately with your other guests. Generally, people are less likely to engage in offensive behavior when they are accompanied by their significant other/
2. Ensure Safe Transportation and/or Lodging Options
The host should encourage responsible drinking, use of designated drivers and public transportation options. The possible of a place for guests to stay if they have had too much party to get home safely.
3. Serve Alcohol Responsibly
One of the simplest ways to mitigate risk is to avoid serving alcohol at all, but alcohol should be served only by professionals who will check IDs and respond appropriately to guests who may be consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs.
4. Set a Hard-Stop End Time
The event should have a definitive start and end time. This also provides an opportunity to reiterate the message to travel home safely and lay out alternative methods of transportation/lodging rather than driving under the influence.
While following these tips cannot guarantee an issue-free event, it certainly can reduce the risk of having troubles that come back to haunt you afterwards. With careful planning and oversight, it is possible to have a great and fully appropriate office party.
Here is to all of you having really fun holidays, and the fun staying inside and off of the streets where your parties can be ruined in a heartbeat and leave you with some awful legal hangovers. Have a great time and be safe. Cheers!