The holiday party season is here, and the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business is advising its members to keep celebrations safe by watching out for two problem areas – drunk driving and harassment.
An increasing number of states require employers to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries by intoxicated employees. To minimize the risk of liability:
* Use professional bartenders, and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears intoxicated.
*Distribute drink tickets to limit the number of drinks.
* Serve lots of free food.
*Ask trusted managers and supervisors to be on the look-out for people who have had too much to drink and unable to drive..
*Pay for cabs to take impaired employees and guests home.
Socializing, alcohol, and mistletoe combine to create an environment that can lead to sexual harassment. Just because it’s a holiday party doesn’t mean you can’t be liable for what happens.
*Remind employees about your harassment policies before the party.
* If your business does not have an anti-harassment policy, get one!
* Don’t hang mistletoe.
* Ask trusted managers and supervisors to intervene and stop any fighting or inappropriate conduct they witness.
* Make sure that all employees understand that a holiday party is a work-related activity,

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