Can an employer still serve alcohol to employees at a holiday celebration?

Assuming the company complies with licensing requirements, the short answer is “yes”.   However, it is important to understand that an employee’s excessive drinking at your holiday party can lead to liability for those serving the alcohol and for the company.  Risks include personal injury, harassment and discrimination.

You can never eliminate all risks, but you can take many precautions to minimize risks for the employee and the company. Such precautions could include:
  • Appoint a monitor to determine if anyone is been drinking excessively.
  • Do not allow employees who have been drinking excessively to drive home.
  • Provide taxi chits to employees who should not be driving and any employee who asks for one.
  • Limit the amount of time that alcohol is available to your guests.
  • Control the number of drinks each person can have by a ticket system.
  • Monitor for inappropriate behaviour such as sexual harassment, workplace harassment and workplace violence.Alcohol consumption often leads to increased risk these inappropriate behaviours occurring.
  • Consider enforcing the company’s dress code for the event.
  • Schedule harassment, violence and mutual respect training to coincide with the event.
Sean Jackson
Sean Jackson
P: 905.572.5804