Making The Right Call Before Last Call: Insurers Financial Group

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The Employer’s Liability for Hosting Social Events

April, 2005 – It’s that time of year, and with office Christmas party preparations in full swing, making the right decisions now and up to last call will go a long way in fulfilling your social and legal obligations.

Much has been written and discussed pursuant to Hunt v. Sutton Realty debating and understanding the duty of care employers must exercise in mitigating their liability arising out of the acts of intoxicated employees.

Recent case rulings reveal that we are expected to be our brother’s keeper. With respect to master-servant law, there is an overriding managerial responsibility owed by employers to protect their employees from harm while on their premises and to protect them from reasonably foreseeable harm when they leave (driving home intoxicated). The responsibility is a full time one and also extends to entertaining guests in your own home. So be vigilant!

Here are recommendations that would mitigate your exposure to host liquor liability:

  • Work-related social events should be held outside of regular working hours and attendance should be voluntary.

  • Hold events off premises whenever possible.

  • Engage a professional bartender for events on company premises.

  • Make it clear to bartender not to serve visibly impaired staff.

  • Limit consumption by drink tickets, cash bar or limited time of service.

  • De-emphasize the company event as an opportunity for excessive drinking through organized activities or entertainment.

  • Offer plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

  • Deal with intoxicated employees immediately and not at last call.

  • Offer free transportation, taxis so everyone can get a safe ride home. Insist intoxicated employees take a cab.

  • Insist intoxicated employee’s turn over their keys (it’s not theft).

  • Consider serving only sit down tables to better monitor consumption.

  • Promote Designated drivers.

Educated employers and employees, host(ess) and friends, together ensure the merriment of the season.

Insurers Financial Group.

The Insurers Financial Group (IFG) was founded on four core values – integrity, respect, innovation and action – and they have served us well. A large part of our success can be attributed to our continuing commitment to client satisfaction. Whether it’s as simple as insuring your home and automobile, or as complicated as specialized business insurance, or estate planning, we have the experience and expertise to customize a program to meet your needs. We’re proud to be building IFG on solid foundations. See for yourself what we have to offer. Check out our web site at