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Timothy K. Giordano, Esq.

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Office Holiday Parties: Minimize legal risk this year

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Tis' the Season... for Work Parties!

Here are some tips to help limit legal exposure & liability at your organization's well-deserved end-of-year celebration!

1. PLAN FOR ALCOHOL! That is, an actual plan for alcohol that’s designed to encourage responsible consumption. Limitless, free AYCD is a recipe for disaster. Consider instead:

*Wine & beer only OR

*better yet, a drink voucher-system.

A cash-bar also will result in less alcohol consumed, but soft-drinks, water, coffee, & tea should always be free. Food should be provided to help off-set the effects of alcohol.

Finally, while Randy from Purchasing no doubt makes the best drinks, do hire a professional bartender, to help shift the obligation to assess whether a guest should be served (or cut-off), to someone with the right experience.

2. PLAN TO GO AWAY! Off-site, that is. If an incident were to occur, your business typically is in a better position legally if the event is held off-premises, outside normal business hours.

3. PLAN THE AFTER-PARTY! Your potential exposure doesn't end once the event ends. To minimize the greatest after-party risk, drunk driving, consider making free transportation available to all via a service like UBER. You can purchase ride codes for employees on a bulk basis ahead of time.

4. PLAN FOR REGRETS! As in, Nance from Accounting's not coming, and that's totally cool. Indeed, the party should be optional, with an invite making that explicit & an RSVP specifically welcoming regrets. This will help avoid unexpected payroll issues and demands, especially for hourly-employees

Have fun and be safe all!

Tim Giordano