Tips to Have a Fun Holiday Party & Avoid Potential Liabilities

Tips to Have a Fun Holiday Party & Avoid Potential Liabilities

It’s that time of the year to enjoy the spirit of the season, so many employers are planning events to celebrate with those who contribute to their success, their employees.

I found an article from that outlining ways to manage the RisksNThreats that may cause unexpected issues that could spoil an employer’s holiday party.

Here are highlights of the writing, which to many of us risk management types, are practical and make good sense:

Some employers tell us they are concerned about problems resulting from employees consuming too much alcohol.  They worry about the following:

  • Auto accidents
  • Workers’ comp claims
  • Acts of discrimination, such as sexual harassment & religious discrimination
  • Injury to 3rd parties
  • Damage to the facilities where the event is held
  • Underage drinking

Here are some tips to help employers avoid problems that may be created from holiday functions:

  1. Have an enforceable alcohol policy: i.e. no alcohol for minors; serve no hard liquor drinks; hire professional servers: these folks are trained to ID employees who have had too much to drink – servers should be given the authority to card someone who looks under age
  2. Be thoughtful of the event location: is there public transportation available? Promote a safe ride program
  3. Provide lots of food and non-alcoholic beverages: this will lessen the consumption and the effects of alcoholic beverages
  4. Title your event a “winter” party: this is a way to avoid religious or cultural issues that can offend some employees
  5. Limit the opportunities for harassment: review your organization’s harassment policies; no mistletoe allowed; music for dancing can be an issue, so you may wish to avoid providing it
  6. Review your insurance coverage with your insurance advisor: will your liability coverage provide protection from employment related matters and serving alcoholic beverages?
  7. Prior to the gathering, provide a memo to your employees about how you expect them to conduct themselves at your party. This article includes a “template sample” courtesy of the SHRM Knowledge Center. You may wish to consider using it after sharing it with your HR professional.

Click on the article title so you may read the entire piece entitled “7 tips to reduce holiday party liability for employer.”

Wishing you a happy and safe time during the holidays.

For more information about this topic and other areas of risk management and insurance, reach out to me via email,, or phone 800-346-6216 ext. 8758.

Also, browse my website,, to learn more opportunities to manage RisksNThreats so your enterprise may continue to thrive.

PS Business owners, managers, supervisors and HR Professionals in the Sacramento, California area, be sure to register for the December 9th workshop “Getting Policies & Practices Ready of 2016.”  Go to the Sacramento Employer Advisory Council website for more info and to sign up. Click here to do so


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Tom Bone
Risk Insurance Advisor
ISU Insurance Services
2266 Lava Ridge Court
Roseville, California 95661
Phone 916.960.8758 or 800.823.4852 ext. 8758
Fax 916.773.4484
Mobile 925.285.6790
License #0306692