Alcohol is a staple of many parties and special events. Along with planning a menu, one of the primary questions individuals will need to ask themselves is if they will be serving alcohol of any kind at their event. BYOB parties don’t exempt hosts from certain responsibilities.
One of the first things to consider if minors will be in attendance is Florida’s Dram Shop Law. It’s important to note that the law holds vendors responsible in a variety of alcohol-related situations, but it doesn’t apply to private gatherings. Still, in some situations the host can be sued in a civil suit. Alcohol can result in a variety of problems of which individuals should be aware when planning a party.
The Open House Parties law is designed to keep minors safe in the presence of alcohol and drugs. Any person that knowingly provides alcohol to a minor can be prosecuted. Even if the host didn’t give it to them and they were sneaking drinks, it’s the host’s responsibility to prevent it from happening.
Businesses that plan to host holiday parties should also use caution. There’s a reason that company parties have a reputation for mischief. There’s a temptation to overindulge, particularly during holiday parties with an open bar. To avoid the potential for problems, make sure employees know that attendance is voluntary and that no work is conducted during festivities.
It’s a good idea to hire entertainment that will aid in moving the focus away from imbibing and hiring a bartender will help in minimizing trouble that could result in the company’s liability. It’s equally important to distribute a notice to every employee that states in writing they should drink responsibly, comply with company policies in regard to harassment, and that even getting a little tipsy won’t excuse inappropriate behavior.
A holiday party doesn’t have to include alcohol and many companies and private individuals are choosing to serve non-alcoholic beverages instead. For those that do serve alcohol, know the responsibilities involved.
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