Host Liquor Liability

There are three significant categories of Host Liquor Liability:

Social Hosts

Commercial Hosts

Employer Hosts

Employer host liability will generally be imposed where the following conditions are met:

  • the employer provides alcohol to the employee
  • the employer has knowledge of the employee’s intoxication
  • the employer fails to take sufficient steps to prevent the employee from driving

Recommended Steps for Mitigating Liability

Employers can minimize any risks of employer host liability by implementing the following best practices when hosting a company party where alcohol is served:

  • hire professional bartenders to serve alcohol – they are trained to identify intoxicated patrons and how to handle them
  • provide non-alcoholic beverage options;
  • avoid an open bar and, instead, provide guests with a limited number of drink tickets
  • ensure food is served at all times when alcohol is available
  • provide taxi vouchers to guests who require them
  • implement a specific cut-off point where the work function officially ends
  • promote responsible drinking.

If you think an employee may attempt to drive a vehicle in an intoxicated state, consider taking the following steps:

  • provide alternative means of transportation
  • take away the employee’s car keys
  • provide accommodations for the employee
  • if the employee refuses your assistance and attempts to drive home, call the police