Hosting A Holiday Party? Be Careful! - Slater Vecchio
December.31.2012

Hosting A Holiday Party? Be Careful!

A young man falls asleep at the wheel while driving home after a night of drinking. He crashes into a ditch and is paralyzed. The Vancouver Sun reports that his employer provided him with the alcohol which he drank in front of his supervisors.

He sued his employer and the Court ruled that the employer was 75% liable for the young man’s injuries. The Court found that if an employee serves alcohol to an employee while at work, the employer has a duty to monitor the employee’s alcohol consumption.

Now is a busy time of year for holiday parties. It’s a time to celebrate with friends and co-workers and for employers to thank staff for hard work. But it’s important to realize that hosting a party at your workplace can have legal consequences. An employer who fails to monitor alcohol consumption can be liable not just to an employee but to anyone injured by a drunk staff member.

So if you are an employer hosting a party this holiday season, here are a few tips to help you avoid liability:

  • Parties begin after working hours – alcohol consumption at work can be considered an unsafe work environment and cause fines upward of $1 million.
  • Have the party at a restaurant or bar where staff is trained to monitor alcohol consumption and deal with over-consumption.
  • Provide taxi vouchers so everyone gets home safely.
  • Get additional insurance in case of an accident.

Have fun and enjoy the holiday season and thank your employees. But take extra care to ensure that everyone stays safe. If hosting a holiday party at home, similar care should be taken.

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Michael Slater QC

Michael Slater, QC

Michael Slater QC is the founding partner of Slater Vecchio. The majority of his practice is confined to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury cases.