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You know it's happening -- employees are staring out their windows, wistfully wondering how the summer is going by so quickly. So why not get them out of the office for a little fun in the sun? If you haven't already planned a summer BBQ or office picnic for your staff, it's a great way to foster both personal and working relationships and give your employees a much-needed break from the monotony.
But company outings aren't just food and fun and games -- they can be fraught with legal liability if you don't do your research, plan ahead, and handle the situation well. Here are three things to think about before getting your staff out of their seats for a BBQ, picnic, or other summer outing.
Our advice for winter, Christmas, or New Year's parties applies to July Fourth, Labor Day, or any summer parties as well. You want your gathering to be inclusive, not include too much booze, and take care of guests during and after the shindig. And you'll want to avoid making the merriment mandatory, as well.
Navigating your employees' liquor consumption during work gatherings can be your toughest job as a boss. Sure, you want everyone to have fun, but not too much fun. And there's a difference between going out to grab a couple drinks after work and providing those drink for a work-sponsored party. For their sake, yours, and third parties they may come across after the BBQ, make sure everyone at the party drinks responsibly.
It's all fun and games until an employee pulls a muscle, or takes a random ball to the face. And an injury at a company-sponsored event can qualify for workers' compensation benefits, meaning you might have to investigate and report the incident. Know when you'll be responsible for ensuring your employees' safety, and responsible to others for keeping them safe from your employees.
So before you put the company picnic on the calendar, put a call in to an experienced employment attorney who can make sure your summer BBQ is set up for success.