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Navigating the Potential Perils of Consuming Alcohol at Holiday Company Parties

Ralph C Wednesday, December 5, 2018

(Long Island, NY) The holiday season is upon us, a time that typically results in a busier social calendar for most people…especially when it comes to the time-honored tradition of company parties. At such events, the stuffy and professional demeanor that is normally associated with the process of conducting business is set aside in favor of a more relaxed environment, and more often than not, alcohol is the catalyst for such a social change. But while drinking is a common social activity at events such as these, doing so responsibly is vital when it comes to the safety of you and your co-workers and/or employees.

With the recent strides that economy has taken on the way to recovery after the recession of the mid-2000’s, more companies are holding holiday parties then in quite some time; currently, reports note that approximately 90 percent of them will host a shindig of some sort to commemorate the holidays, and if you or your co-workers are indeed planning on letting your hair down at such an event, there are several things you should keep in mind if there will be drinking – followed potentially by driving – involved.

Know the Law

First of all, it’s very important to be aware of any and all laws pertaining to the concept of social host liability, and these laws can vary significantly from state to state. Not every state has social host laws, but New York does and consulting with a personal injury lawyer that is aware of the nuances that govern this legislation – which can see the host of a party potentially sharing in the criminal or civil penalties when it comes to the conduct of a party attendee – is of the utmost importance.

New York State holds businesses such as bars and catering halls responsible if a patron who has consumed an excess amount of alcohol subsequently injures another party; in addition, these establishments can also be held liable if they serve a minor alcohol as well. Private individuals or individuals that are hosing parties are not bound by the social host law in New York State; however, there can still be ramifications for a host if a guest or employee injures or kills someone at or after leaving the event in an inebriated state. If the event is being held at a commercial venue – such as a bar or restaurant – then the host may share some degree of liability with the ownership of said venue. The same can be said if any inadvertent underage drinking transpires, so if the venue the party is being held in is accessible by the public, be sure you’re checking the IDs of any potentially underage attendees.

In addition, some municipalities within New York also have their own individual sets of social host laws, so it pays to consult an attorney before throwing your event, just to make sure the red tape has been sufficiently cleared.

Dress Appropriately

While the very essence of an company holiday party is to loosen up and enjoy yourself while in the company of co-workers, maintaining some degree of office decorum can go a long way to making sure that you don’t overdo it and get into potential trouble. Dressing in a business casual manner is a great idea that allows you to relax and unwind while still keeping a semi-professional vibe that will discourage others from engaging in inappropriate behavior. After all, while this is indeed a party, it’s still also a “business” event with important networking opportunities.

Set an Example for Others

An employer or manager should encourage some degree of responsibility at any social event, even if the main purpose of said event is to foster in an atmosphere of fun and frivolity in anticipation of the holiday season. Attempt to refrain from starting drinking too early or too much during of the event, and encourage your immediate subordinates to do the same; while the name of the game for any party is to have fun, you must keep in mind that the reputation of your company may also suffer if someone overdoes it and causes an issue.

Likewise, an employee should always keep in mind that, even at social events like a holiday party where people tend to let their guards down, you are still being judged by your performance by your superiors and co-workers; therefore, it’s in your best interests to confer with your workplace friends and agree that you all should exercise responsibility when it comes to any after-hours drinking, and always be sure to designate a sober driver – or keep the phone number or app of a taxi or ride-sharing service handy – in case one or more of you end up indulging in alcohol a bit too much and need an alternate means of getting home that evening.

Make a Plan and Set Your Limits

It’s easy to get carried away in a social situation, and going to any party with a plan in mind, such as how many drinks you intend on having or what time you decide to pack it in for the evening, can eliminate a lot of headache – or worse – later on. Try and find out as much about the event as you can beforehand, such as the venue, whether there’s an open bar or not, what kind of drinks will be made available, and so on. Once there, remember to pace yourself…sip your drink slowly, and try to alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages so you don’t go too far, too fast. If you’re worried about looking like a lightweight in front of your office mates, just remember that a soda is indistinguishable from a cocktail, and that by exhibiting control you will prevent yourself from impairing your judgment and doing something you may later regret...and potentially need a lawyer for.

Party with Your Career in Mind

Finally, keep in mind that the primary focus of attending any office holiday party should be furthering your career and not alienating your bosses or co-workers with potentially boorish, drunken behavior. Always put your best foot forward, maintain your control, don’t overdo your drinking, and be aware of the image you’re projecting at all times. Unwinding with your office mates is important and can help to forge beneficial relationships that can assist with your career, but it’s also possible to go too far and offend people; and if you get drunk and injure someone as a result – either driving a car or in some other way – that’s not going to help your professional development much, either.

Hurt in a car accident caused by someone that was engaging in drinking at a holiday party beforehand? Contact Our Team of Personal Injury Attorneys: When you’ve been in any automobile collision, you should not only seek immediate medical treatment, but also consult with legal counsel as soon as possible as well. Whenever you become hurt or injured through no fault of your own – through the neglect, indifference, or willful act of another – you should always be fully compensated, so call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP at 866-878-6774 now or fill out our simple form for a free consultation.


Appears In: Business News

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