Can We Still Have A Party?

09 Nov Can We Still Have A Party?

You get the call the morning after your company Christmas party.  “Mr. Business Owner? Your employee was taken to a holding cell last night after failing a DUI test at the scene of an accident where a young mother and her child were injured. He says you provided the booze.” 

If you have to serve alcohol at the company Christmas party, put a strict limit on it. Anyone who serves alcohol to someone who’s had too much already and then allows the guest to drive away may be legally responsible for the accident that ensues. A local company had festive drinking parties regularly, until one employee went home with another employee’s wife.  It didn’t contribute much to a positive work environment, so they stopped serving alcohol and made all company picnics and parties for employees and their families.

If you want to have a holiday party, but you don’t want to stay up at night worrying about the fate of your guests, here are a few tips:

  • Put a note in the invitation reinforcing your company values and explaining that each person will be limited to two drinks. 
  • Issue the drink tickets at the door, and instruct bartenders to adhere strictly to the two drinks per person limit, regardless of who is demanding one more.
  • Let guests know that they can throw unused drink tickets in a hat for drawings later in the evening.  Those who keep a ticket may walk away winners.
  • Offer food, soft drinks, and coffee.
  • Keep an eye on guests, because there is always someone who sneaks his own into the party.  Provide rides home for anyone whose ability to drive is questionable.
  • OR Don’t offer alcohol at all.  Provide entertainment, and have a good time without the pain the next day and the liability nightmares that can result.


Scott Mastley, SPHR, MBA, is the Vice President of Human Resources for Resource Alliance.

Scott is a consultant, not an attorney, so he shares his opinions, not legal advice, about increasing performance and limiting liability.