Monday, January 11, 2010
DOL Posts "A Safe and Sober Message About Workplace Parties and Drinking"
The United States Department of Labor ("DOL") recently posted "guidance" regarding workplace parties and alcohol consumption. The guidance notes that the workplace is frequently a place where employees and employers get together to celebrate special events and that such celebrations frequently include alcohol, which increases the potential for unfortunate consequences. The guidance also notes that improper use of alcohol may expose employers to liability under tort, workers' compensation or other laws. For example, according to the guidance, an employer may be held liable if a person consumes alcoholic beverages at a company-sponsored party and subsequently causes a crash. Some employers have been held liable because negligent acts by employees under the influence of alcohol consumed at employer-sponsored events were found to be within the scope of their employment. In other cases, individuals have been held liable merely because they provided alcohol to social guests. [For the DOL's complete "guidance" on this issue, see http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/drugs/workingpartners/sp_iss/send.asp.]