Legal Issues Pertaining to Sweeping
Holiday Parties: What Do They Mean For Employers and Employees?
Attorneys at Law with Alabama-based Sirote & Permutt Law Firm
adapted with permission to embrace a national scope by Ranger Kidwell-Ross
Attending holiday parties and the consumption of alcoholic beverages between Thanksgiving and New Years offers increased opportunities to engage in risky behavior. The criminal penalties for DUI are steep, including, in many states, jail time and a hefty fine.
In addition, a person charged with DUI typically faces a suspension of their driving privileges. In some states, this suspension can be imposed as a result of a conviction for DUI or can be administratively imposed prior to any conviction based upon either a refusal to perform a blood alcohol breath test or a person's breath alcohol level being above that allowed by state statute.
In some states, the state may impose even more serious penalties upon any person who is convicted of having a very high alcohol level in his blood while driving.
The bottom line is that if a person chooses to drink at a holiday gathering or event, they should do so very sparingly, if at all. The better practice is simply not to consume alcohol, or to consume a very, very small amount of alcohol, prior to driving a motor vehicle. The consequences of consuming more than one drink and driving a motor vehicle is just too risky for the individual.
Employers also need to be cautious during the Holiday Season. Holiday parties often create or increase the risks of inappropriate behavior, whether it is inappropriate dress, inappropriate dancing with co-workers, sexual harassment, assault and even wrongful death claims if an accident is caused by a driver who became intoxicated at the party. Arrests, EEOC charges and lawsuits can be the result. In order to cut down on the risk of liability, there are many things an employer can do. These include:
Follow the above steps to ensure a safe, happy – lawsuit-free – Holiday Season!
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