Alcohol and Holiday Parties: Know Your Limits
With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s a good time to consider the steps you can take to ensure that your employees are safe when attending office parties or work-sponsored events.
Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act impose new obligations for employers to ensure the workplace is free from harassment, and specifically sexual harassment. In cases where employees become intoxicated and engage in inappropriate behaviour, there is the potential for a negative impact to the working environment and the reputation of the company. There is also the potential for an intoxicated employee to drive home afterward, posing a safety-related liability.
Here are a few tips to ensure that employees are provided a safe and enjoyable experience at these events:
- Inform employees prior to the event, at the start of the event and at the end of the event that they are not to drink and drive;
- Ensure the bar is supervised and that food is served;
- Consider closing the bar an hour or more before the event ends;
- Consider implementing a drink ticket program to limit the amount of drinks employees and guests may have during the party and;
- Communicate alternative transportation options for employees prior to the party (taxis, designated drivers, hotel rooms with group rates).
If you have questions on how to put into action rules and policies for alcohol consumption at holiday parties or if you would like to discuss any other Human Resources-related matters, please contact one of our Human Resources Advisors.