I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas this holiday season.
Party season is in full swing and I know that everyone has been told before, but drinking and driving do not mix. There is always an alternative. As an employer, if you have alcohol at work related functions, be sure you practise due diligence. Employers can potentially face civil liability when hosting, organizing or sponsoring events that involve alcohol.
I have mentioned this topic earlier in a newsletter, but with the information as important as it is, I want to re-iterate it here.
Provider liability occurs when those who provide, serve or make alcohol available to a person who they know or should know is already intoxicated. Provider liability does not prevent individuals from being hosts and serving alcohol. The case of Jacobsen vs. Nike Canada Ltd. is one example of legal precedent that has been established in court.
Supervisors purchased and consumed dinner, soft drinks and 36 beers with Nike employees towards the end of a 16 hour workday. The plaintiff, a 19 year old, consumed at least eight beers during this time in which he would have been displaying obvious signs of intoxication.
After leaving work, he went to a bar where he consumed at least three more drinks before falling asleep while driving home. His accident left him a quadriplegic. While the plaintiff acknowledged his own negligence, the court found Nike Canada liable for 75% of damages for two reasons:
1. Nike, as an alcohol provider, had a duty to monitor its employees’ consumption and take steps to prevent them from driving when they knew, or should have known that their employees were likely impaired. This is the same standard applied to a licensed commercial establishment.
2. Nike had a duty to maintain a safe workplace. Nike required workers to bring their cars to work and knew they would be driving home. In effect, drinking and driving was made part of the working conditions that day.
Be safe and enjoy this holiday season. If you would like more information about employer liability feel free to call SureHire at 1-866-944-HIRE (4473). If you would like to read the entire Christmas newsletter for SureHire, that discusses employer liability: SureNews: Alcohol Liability Issue
If I don’t get another blog out before January, Happy New Years and all the best in 2010 to all the readers!