When liquor is served organizations may be responsible for those served. Liquor liability includes serving people past the point of intoxication. Any organization, company, or individual with possession of or responsible for a premises are responsible for protecting persons on their premises from harm. Employers have a liability exposure where employees consume alcohol at functions like staff parties. Liabiity exposures also exist if security are used to monitor patrons if excessive force is used to manage intoxicated patrons.
As a company or organization it is important to have procedures in place that are strictly enforced.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada suggests the following risk items to develop your risk management policy.
- Limiting alcohol consumption.
- Ensuring that bartenders are experienced and do not serve obviously intoxicated persons.
- Offering food service.
- Encouraging taxi use.
- Providing reduced/subsidized taxi and hotel rates.
- Encouraging car pools and designated-driver programs.
- Reminding guests before and during the event not to drink and drive and of the other options available.
- Having several trained doormen/bouncers/spotters who remain sober and watch people leaving and encourage/insist on taxi use.
- Informing guests that intoxicated persons will be put into taxis.
- Displaying posters from Mothers Against Drinking and Driving (MADD), Students Against Drinking and Driving (SADD) or similar organizations, outside and around alcohol consumption areas.
Some of the following elements may be required by law.
1. Comply with all legislation regarding alcohol.
2. Ensure proper permits (to sell or serve alcohol) are obtained.
3. Train servers.
- Do not serve or sell alcohol to those under legal drinking age. The age will vary depending on the province or territory.
- Do not serve patrons past the point of intoxication.
- Ensure that servers understand government legislation pertaining to alcohol. Ensure that servers follow the organization’s policies and procedures. Make sure training is documented.
4. Implement a mandatory identification policy.
- Establish the forms of identification that will be accepted.
- Establish when identification needs to be shown. For example, require identification from anyone who is not obviously over the age of 30.
5. Display informational material on government alcohol-related policies and legislation.
- Inform customers that the business will abide by the rules set out by the government.
6. Implement inventory controls over alcohol.
- Implement measures to prevent theft (e.g., install security cameras, hire additional personnel, etc.).
7. Regulate hours to sell or serve alcohol. Check with your local authority to determine minimum standards.
8. Use a facility-use agreement if you have rented out a location that you own and where renters may consume alcohol.
- Include a hold-harmless and indemnifying agreement that holds the owner of the premises harmless and indemnifies the owner for losses or damages resulting from the negligent use of the facilities or the serving of alcohol. These clauses may help limit your liabilities. Consult a lawyer for advice on contracts and agreements.
9. Obtain insurance coverage, possibly with higher limits (i.e., higher limits than organizations that do not serve/sell alcohol). -Get a Commercial Insurance Quote
10. Consider implementing a Zero Tolerance Alcohol and Drug Policy
11. Do not allow employees/volunteers to consume alcohol or drugs while working.
- Do not allow employees/volunteers to drink and drive.
- Do not allow employees/volunteers to work if they appear intoxicated.