Alcohol at company picnic

Upper management has decided that there will be no alcoholic beverages (beer and wine) at the company picnic this year.  And, of course, I got to announce this.

We only gave employees two drink tickets each, but the nondrinkers would give their tickets away and the bartenders from the caterer didn't keep track of who got how many drinks. We did do pre-picnic communication about not drinking and driving, correct behavior at company functions, etc.

Despite the beer bottle through a window incident last year, employees seem shocked by this announcement--and perturbed to say the least. One employee said to me "why should we be punished because of someone else's bad behavior?"

Any suggestions on what I should say?  Employees don't seem to care about employer liability issues.



  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • A few years ago a company I worked for did the same thing.  We did have complaints but what we offered was the following.  We designated a time for the "company" picnic, as an example, "company" time was from 11:00am-1:00pm.  What we offered as a compromise was that after 1pm if people wanted to comsume beverages they could, they would have to provide them, but it removed our liability and it transfered responsibility from the company to the employee.  Also, it was great to see how many people just enjoyed sitting around talking and relaxing. 

  • I would have hoped that adults would have learned that children say "That's not fair" and by the time childhood is over there is an understanding as to why the policy was changed.  Is it that employees can't have a good time unless they have alcohol at a picnic? 

    There are so many laws today against drinking and driving that a company is taking a chance allowing alcohol.  I don't think I'd worry about the people who don't understand the change in procedure and would probably respond with "At least the picnic was not totally cancelled, just this small part of it."  That might give them something to think about.

  • I second that. I mean, it's a few hours of their lives. You're not making them attend an alcohol-free weekend retreat for goodness sake. 

    Meanwhile, Cindy Z's idea about having a designated time where the company-sponsored portion of the picnic is "over" and allowing them to pop open their own alcoholic beverages after that time sounds good if you're dealing with responsible adults. But can you be sure your employees would abide by it,  if they've indeed brought their own to consume (and they're chomping at the bit to consume it)? It's basically an invitation to bring their own so that they can start consuming it beginning at a designated time and I can't help but wonder if they'll try to 'sneak' some a little earlier.

    If it were me, I would just tell them alcohol isn't allowed for the duration of the employee-sponsored event--which ends at  3 P.M. or whenever. If they think up the idea to bring their own alcohol to use after that time, then good for them.  Otherwise, they can all head elsewhere once the company-sponsored time of the event is over to have a drink.

  • Geez...if they want to drink that badly tell them to go out afterwards! They sound like a bunch of college kids to me!
  • does anyone else get annoyed with the sense of entitlement that people seem to have these days? maybe there is a law that entitles workers to drink at work functions mthat i am unaware of. the sense of entitlement starts at a young age. last year i went to speak at my daughter's fifth grade class' career day at school. after i spoke, the teacher had a pizza party for the students.  when the pizza arrived the students started complaining because the teacher ordered plain cheese pizzas with no toppings. omigod, no toppings.  what a crime!!
  • I couldn't agree more. Be satisfied there's a company picnic at all! No work on a work day and free food. What else do they want? I get that having a beer or two is a nice touch at an outdoor event. I do. But obviously some people can't handle their liquor and now they've ruined it for everyone. Just deal with it!
Sign In or Register to comment.