With the holiday season fast approaching, many employers are planning social events to celebrate with their staff and volunteers. While the office holiday party can be a fun occasion, employers must remember that along with the eggnog and mulled wine comes the risk of liability for employers who do not take appropriate precautions to manage risks associated with troublesome employee behaviour.
When planning their office holiday party, employers should be aware that there is potential that an employer could be found liable should an employee become intoxicated at a work event and subsequently harm themselves or another person. In addition, the employer’s duty to provide a harassment-free workplace may extend to work-sponsored social events, giving rise to potential issues should an employee act in a harassing or otherwise inappropriate matter towards a colleague.
Issues to be considered by employers include:
• Are employees “in the course of employment” when they attend a workplace social function?
• Location of the event: can hosting it off-site reduce an employer’s liability?
• Timing of the event: how to reduce risk?
• Should alcohol be served? If so, how to ensure that everyone drinks responsibly?
• How to ensure that employees who do become intoxicated are able to safely arrive home after the event?
• How to deal with inappropriate behavior by employees?
This Webinar is designed to assist employers with developing best practices for planning and implementing safe and successful holiday parties. We will also address how to best respond to problematic employee behavior at these events, and how to appropriately discipline employees whose behavior at a workplace social event does not meet acceptable standards.