Risk Insights: Reduce Your Exposures During Work Events

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Businesses host parties for a variety of reasons, including the holidays and organizational accomplishments. While these events are fun, team-building opportunities, they can create a number of risks for the hosting company. In fact, in the event that an employee is injured at the party or causes property damage, the employer is usually the one held responsible. This can lead to costly litigation and reputational harm that can affect a company for years.

To avoid major losses, it’s not only important for employers to secure the right insurance coverage for every individual risk, but to also have a thorough understanding of common holiday party exposures.

Alcohol

  • Hold the event off-site at a restaurant or hotel.

  • Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the night.

  • Serve drinks to guests rather than offering a self-serve bar. Limit the amount of alcohol you will serve. Require servers to measure spirits.

  • Set up bar stations instead of having servers circulate the room. Place table tents at each bar that remind employees and guests to drink responsibly.

  • Don’t price alcohol too low, as it encourages over-consumption. Offer a range of low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks at no charge.

  • Close the bar an hour before the scheduled end of the party. Do not offer a “last call,” as this promotes rapid consumption.

  • Entice guests to take advantage of safe transportation options by subsidizing taxis or promoting a designated driver program.

Workplace Harassment & Discrimination

  • Consider making the event a family party where employees can bring their spouse, significant other, children or a friend. This can help deter inappropriate behavior.

  • Keep event themes and decorations appropriate. Parties should be neutral and not make reference to specific religions or beliefs. In addition, plan your party on a day that does not conflict with religious holidays.

  • Consider having just one entrance to your party. This will allow you to control who enters the venue and ensures that uninvited guests do not attended.

  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.

  • Avoid making attendance for company-sponsored events mandatory.

Food Exposures

  • Ask party guests to disclose any of their allergies, either in their RSVP or by contacting the event coordinator directly.

  • Specify what ingredients are in every food items, both on the menu and on display cards near the food itself.

  • Promote safe food preparation and handling practices.

  • When working with a third-party provider, do your due diligence to ensure they are securing reputable vendors.

Property Damage

  • Set behavior expectations before the party.

  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.

  • Remove valuable items from the party area wherever possible. Make sure any areas that you don’t want guests to enter are locked, roped off or secured in some way.

  • Review your liability insurance and know what it covers.

  • Ensure the venue is equipped to handle the number of individuals invited to the party.

Amanda S