The Potential Liabilities to Hosting Company Parties

By Peter DePaolis

From the Society of Human Resources Management Holiday Practices Survey, 83% of the organizations surveyed said that they host annual company holiday parties. Those with more than 200 employees were less likely to throw a party than those with fewer than 200 employees. Out of the 83% of organizations that served alcohol, 53% of the individuals surveyed stated that all types of alcohol (hard and soft) were served at the party, and only 29% of the individuals surveyed stated that their organization did not serve alcohol.

Many organizations also tend to have a cash bar at their company holiday parties. In the survey, 42% of the organizations serving alcohol did not charge their employees. Of the other organizations, 30% of the individuals said that a cash bar was used, and 28% of those surveyed said that the first alcoholic beverage served was free.

Due to the consumption of alcohol at company holiday parties, employees can become rowdy and this could open the company up to liability. If you have any questions regarding your future company holiday party and how to avoid liability, contact a Washington, D.C., Maryland or Northern Virginia worker’s compensation attorney.

Dram Shop Law in Virginia

The Dram Shop Law in Virginia gives bar owners and other commercial establishments immunity if a patron harms someone while driving drunk. This also includes protection for individuals who host parties within their homes. This means that if alcohol is served to someone who is knowingly intoxicated, the bar or home host cannot be held responsible for the injuries caused if the driver hurts someone while driving after he leaves the bar or other establishment. If you have any questions about this particular protection or others in conjunction with hosting an office holiday party, contact a Washington, D.C., Maryland or Northern Virginia car accident attorney.

Liability for Battery at Company Parties

Not all incidents at company parties involve drunk driving. Many times, when employees become intoxicated, they can start engaging in activities that they would never think to engage in while sober. This includes physical altercations and sexual harassment. Both of these could cost your company a lot of money if the victim holds your company accountable for the guilty individual’s behavior. If you want to protect your company from liability during your next company party, contact a Northern Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C. workers comp attorney.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.