The holiday office party has evolved over the years. Businesses want to boost employee morale and celebrate the year’s successes. However, they recognize their responsibility for employee safety and well-being.
Changing attitudes toward alcohol mean the days of the boozy affairs are over. Intoxicated employees being injured or injuring others, especially behind the wheel, makes dry parties attractive.
Also, the #me-too era means reconsidering employees’ and managers’ behavior at and away from the office.
Is it time to scrap office socializing altogether?
Set Holiday Office Party Expectations in Advance
The holiday office party does not have to be alcohol-free to be safe. The key is to set expectations.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) advises businesses to communicate with employees long before the party begins. You also can take the following steps.
- Remind employees to drink responsibly
- Managers set the behavior example
- Have the party away from the office
- Have a cash bar
- Hire a professional bartender
- Serve food
- Stop serving alcohol before the party ends
The III says a commercial general liability policy may offer business protection for the actions of an intoxicated employee. However, employers should check with their insurer to be certain.
This also is a good time to consider an Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy. Establishing clear employee behavior policies and providing comprehensive sexual harassment training safeguards against bad employee behavior. However, EPLI offers financial protection for your business.
When it comes to the protecting against bad behavior at the holiday office party, the law office of Smith Anderson suggests reminding employees of company harassment policies before the party. Activities at the party should avoid games or situations that could encourage bad behavior. Respect should also be shown for the diversity of religious and cultural beliefs present in society.
If your business is planning a party for the holidays, following these tips can make set the stage for a positive experience for your employees and your office. The Keating Agency offers these suggestions to help you avoid potential claim situations. We want you and your business to succeed.
If you have any questions about business insurance, including EPLI coverage, we’re happy to discuss it with you. We work with more than two dozen companies. This allows us to find the right policy and coverage for you.
Give us a call.