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Any time there’s an employee party, one of the decisions that employers need to make is about serving alcoholic beverages during the event (regardless of where the event is held). It’s understandable to want to give employees a nice event that includes libations. They’ve worked hard and deserve the finest.

However according to Lawyers.com, the company can be held liable for incidents that happen during company sponsored events that include alcohol. Since human resources is often responsible for planning employee events, here are some things to consider to make sure employees don’t get drunk and start photocopying body parts.

  • Don’t serve alcohol. Will employees complain? It’s possible. But, celebrating the spirit of teamwork and the company’s accomplishments should not be contingent on libations.
  • Don’t make the event mandatory. The holiday party should not be a “all hands on deck” affair. This isn’t where promotions are made. Employees should not be judged by their attendance or non-attendance.
  • Control the drink service. Instead of open bar – offer only beer and wine. Consider distributing drink tickets to attendees. Serve food – people should not indulge on an empty stomach! And instruct servers not to continuously refill wine glasses during dinner service.
  • Have a plan for employees who overindulge. Even when you do all (or most) of these things, it’s possible you will still have to deal with inebriated employees. Honestly, it’s possible employees will come to the event drunk. Plan ahead by having a car service available to take employees home safely.

An excellent resource is the MADD safe party guide.

Instead of viewing each event separately, companies should consider their overall point of view when it comes to drinking during employee events. Strive for consistency. Employees will appreciate knowing the rules are the same whether it’s the company holiday party, award ceremony, or the summer employee picnic.

It is possible to plan celebratory events where employees don’t get wasted and start copying body parts. The key is to set expectations, plan for contingencies, and get creative organizing the festivities.

Oh and did you know 23% of all photocopier faults worldwide* are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their backsides!

*according to factsprofessor.com