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Holiday Cheer and Risk Management: Do's and Don'ts on Employer Sponsored Company Parties

Holiday Cheer and Risk Management: Do's and Don'ts on Employer Sponsored Company Parties

Louis Hansel

Holiday Cheer and Risk Management: Do's and Don'ts on Employer Sponsored Company Parties

As the holiday season approaches, many employers start planning company parties to celebrate the year's accomplishments and foster camaraderie among their staff. While these events can be a great way to boost morale and team spirit, it's important for employers to take steps to minimize potential risks and protect their company's insurance coverage.


  1. Choose an Appropriate Venue: Select a well-established venue with a good reputation and a liquor license if alcohol will be served. Ensure the venue has adequate liability insurance and can accommodate the expected number of attendees.
  2. Establish Clear Guidelines: Clearly communicate company policies regarding alcohol consumption, harassment, and appropriate behavior at the event. Remind employees that company policies remain in effect even outside the workplace.
  3. Set Limits on Alcohol Consumption: Consider providing a limited number of drink tickets or hiring professional bartenders who can monitor alcohol consumption. Encourage non-alcoholic beverage options and provide plenty of food to slow down the absorption of alcohol.
  4. Arrange Transportation Options: Offer transportation options for employees who plan to consume alcohol, such as shuttle buses, taxi vouchers, or ride-sharing services. This can help prevent drunk driving incidents and protect the company's liability.
  5. Provide Supervision: Have designated supervisors or managers present throughout the event to monitor employee behavior and ensure adherence to company policies. Encourage them to intervene if they observe any inappropriate or risky behavior.


  1. Mandatory Attendance: Avoid making attendance mandatory, as this could create resentment and discourage employees who are uncomfortable or have other commitments. Encourage participation but respect individual choices.
  2. Open Bar: Refrain from providing an open bar, as this can lead to excessive alcohol consumption and increase the risk of accidents, injuries, or inappropriate behavior.
  3. Risky Activities: Avoid organizing activities that involve high-risk physical exertion or potential hazards, such as rock climbing, extreme sports, or excessive consumption of spicy or exotic foods.
  4. Lack of Supervision: Leave the event unsupervised or rely solely on junior staff to manage the party. Ensure that designated supervisors are present throughout the event and are equipped to handle any issues that may arise.
  5. Post-Party Gatherings: Discourage or prohibit impromptu gatherings or extensions of the party at private locations, especially if alcohol will be consumed. Encourage employees to end the party at the designated time and utilize the provided transportation options.

Additional Tips:

  • Purchase event liability insurance to cover potential claims arising from accidents, injuries, or other incidents at the party.
  • Clearly communicate the party policies and guidelines to all employees in advance.
  • Consider hiring security personnel if necessary, especially if the event is large or will be held at an off-site location.
  • Respond promptly and appropriately to any incidents or complaints that arise during or after the party.

By following these do's and don'ts, employers can host enjoyable and safe holiday parties while minimizing potential risks and protecting their company's insurance coverage. Remember, the goal is to celebrate the year's accomplishments and foster camaraderie, not to create a situation where accidents, injuries, or inappropriate behavior occur.