Tips for Reducing Holiday Party Exposures

Businesses host parties for a variety of reasons, including the holidays. While these events are fun, team-building opportunities, they can create several risks. If an employee is injured at the holiday party or causes property damage, the employer is usually the one held responsible. This can lead to a possible lawsuit that could harm the company.

To avoid major losses, it’s not only important for employers to secure the right business insurance coverage, but to also have a thorough understanding of common holiday party exposures.

How to Reduce Exposures During a Holiday Party

Property Damage

Property damage can occur at just about any kind of party. As the host, it’s your job to ensure your employees remain safe, behave appropriately, and respect the venue and its contents.

To do so, employers should:

  • Set behavior expectations before the holiday party.
  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior.
  • Review your liability insurance and know what it covers.
  • Remove valuable items from the party area.
  • Ensure the venue is equipped to handle the number of individuals attending the party.
  • Make sure any areas that you don’t want employees to enter are locked, roped off, or secured in some way.


Anytime you provide alcohol to employees, you’re considered a social host. This is important to note, as employers may be responsible for the acts of their employees should their conduct create harm. These risks are compounded when alcohol is served, and employers may be liable for damages following a drunken driving accident or similar incident.

While the best way to reduce alcohol liability risks is to avoid serving it altogether, this isn’t always feasible. To promote the safety of your employees, consider the following:

  • Hold the holiday party off-site.
  • Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you’ll serve.
  • Set up bar stations instead of having waitors circulate the room.
  • Close the bar an hour before the end of the party.
  • Provide Ubers and Lyfts for employees.

Food Exposures

Food is a staple of many holiday parties and can be a useful way to keep employees sober and limit alcohol-related liability. However, when serving food, there are several risks employers should consider.

For instance, employers need to be wary of potential food allergies. To help protect against this, employers should ask party guests to disclose any of their allergies, either in their RSVP or by contacting the event coordinator directly. In addition, you should specify what ingredients are in every food item, both on the menu and on display cards near the food itself.

For added protection against illnesses, employers must promote safe food preparation and handling practices. Moreover, when working with a third-party provider, employers should do their due diligence to ensure they’re securing reputable vendors.

Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Even when holding a holiday party off-site, employers are expected to enforce their workplace policies and safeguard their employees. In particular, employers must pay extra care to prevent issues of harassment and discrimination at their events, as they can lead to employment claims and costly litigation.

To help keep employees safe at holiday parties, employers should ensure all of their policies related to harassment, violence, discrimination, and code of conduct are up to date. Policies should be specific as to what is and isn’t tolerated, and redistributed when needed.

In addition, employers should:

  • Consider making the event a family party where employees can bring their spouse, significant other, children, or a friend (this can help deter inappropriate behavior).
  • Keep event themes and decorations appropriate. Parties should be neutral and not refer to specific religions or beliefs.
  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior.
  • Avoid making attendance for holiday parties mandatory.

Bottom Line

Even if you take all the appropriate precautions, incidents can still occur. As such, all businesses in Atlanta need to secure adequate insurance.

Each business is different and may require additional policies to account for all of its exposures. Contact Atlanta Insurance today to learn about your coverage options when it comes to hosting a holiday party.

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