Host Your Company’s Holiday Party with Less Risk
By Mike Seiler
Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room – that is more than 200,000 emergency room visits per year, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization.
Have you thought about the food selections that you will offer at your company’s holiday party?
Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Do you want to be responsible for a drunk driving crash because one of your party attendees drank too much and should not have left your party drunk?
When alcohol is the only form of entertainment at a party, the potential for fights breaking out and trouble starting increases significantly as the liquor flows.
A dangerous situation can also happen when party goers combine over the counter and prescription drugs and alcohol.
The changing world has made a corporate gathering a potential target by outside forces that would come to your event and disrupt it with violence.
How can you responsibly protect your employees and their guests at the party and still have a memorable holiday event?
No matter what exactly happens at the holiday party, you and your company should be thinking of ways to protect them until they are home safe in their beds.
If your company hosts a party and one of your guests leaves and then gets hurt, your company could be liable for all of their medical expenses plus pain and suffering.
It's important for you and your company to address your liability when you are planning the party and understand your guest's limitations, whether it applies to food allergies, alcohol or other dangerous human behavior.
Below are some suggestions on how you and your company can host a safe and enjoyable holiday party:
- Host the Party Offsite. If you hold a party onsite at your business location, you could alter insurance liabilities for your company, especially when it comes to third party alcohol and injury policies. Look for a restaurant, bar or other location that has a liquor license. Your liability will be decreased.
- Feed Your Guests. If alcohol will be served at your company party, be sure to serve at least snacks, preferably a light meal if possible. High protein and carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are especially good. They stay in the stomach much longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol.
- Check your Company’s Insurance Coverage. Be sure to review your business liability coverage and verify that you and your company are adequately protected should an accident or illness occur at your company’s holiday party. You may even want to consider a separate umbrella policy to cover your holiday event.
- Get Everyone Home Safely. Although you are not required to provide rides, you may want to consider setting up an Uber or cab account in advance for those guests who need it. You’ll then be able to enjoy the party, knowing that everyone is safe, has a ride home and are back at their desks on Monday having had a good experience at the party – safe and sound. By avoiding accidents, you don’t have to worry about employee liability.
By taking the appropriate steps before the party begins, you, your employees and their guests will be able to celebrate everyone’s success at the party and have great memories of the 2016 holiday party.
To discuss your company's holiday party liability further, contact Mike Seiler at 281.419.7770.
Mike Seiler lives in Montgomery County and draws from his vast experience as a former Texas judge in 435th District Court.
Mike Seiler is an attorney specializing in criminal and civil defense for Montgomery County and surrounding areas. He began his legal career as a prosecutor, working for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office for 16 years before being appointed to the 435th District Court by Governor Rick Perry. He resigned from the bench in 2016. Today, Seiler enjoys traveling around the state of Texas representing clients in all types of cases. He is one of very few attorneys in the region that have enjoyed successful careers in all three aspects of a courtroom – prosecutor, judge and defender. For more information on Seiler, visit www.theseilerlawfirm.com or call (281) 419-7770.