Company Picnics – Good Idea or a Big Risk?

Many employers sponsor picnics and other social events to boost employee morale, increase teamwork among employees, and show appreciation.

However, these events need to be sponsored responsibly to avoid accidents from inebriated employees and guests or injuries that may qualify as workers compensation claims.

HR POINTER: Checklist for keeping your company event safe and fun:

1. Ensure that employees understand the event is completely voluntary and attendance is not required.

2. Consider holding an alcohol free event to avoid any third party lawsuits from people injured by an intoxicated employee. Spend the money you’ll save on door prizes and better food.

3. If alcohol is served, use a cash bar or ticket system, rather than an open bar.  Also, stop the alcohol service well before the end of the event and provide a taxi service for anyone in need.

4. Holding the event off site to minimize liability risks and hire professional bartenders who can monitor alcohol consumption.

5. Check your general liability insurance to determine what types of off-premises activities are covered and whether insurance coverage is available for such activities.

6. Alert employees that they will be held accountable for off-duty behavior at a company-sponsored event.

Despite all the admonitions, the value of these social events outweighs the risks.

So enjoy – it’s summer!

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