Too Much to Drink at Company Picnic
SFbay 156 Posts
Our company picnic is BYOB. I am curious about what other people do (or don't do) when an employee has too much to drink at a company picnic and acts like a fool (nothing that is against the law but behavior that is unprofessional and could hurt the employee's reputation and possibly the company's)? Do you intervene at the time and say something? Ask the employee's supervisor to say something? Simply raise your eyebrows? Wait until the next day and discipline the employee? Don't say or do anything?
Hey, don't overreact. These people are adults, and the company did say BYOB and did not ban liquor from the event (which many companies are doing to prevent problems that you described).
Colleagues will probably intercede and let the employee know he or she has had too much or that behavior getting out of hand.
This isn't a school outing and the supervisors aren't teacher/monitors, so I wouldn't make the direct supervisor intevene.
Unless the person did something extreme, such as using unacceptable language or motions (especially against another employee), there is no need to say anything at the picnic.
Of course, if the employee is too inebriated to drive, someone must take him or her home.
I wouldn't overract either. Leave it up to the employee's co-workers...they'll probably give the employee such a ribbing the next day that he/she will never drink too much at a company funtion again.
But, I agree with fisHRman...if the employee seems to drunk to drive, offer him/her a ride home, or recruit someone who lives in the same area to give the employee a ride. Regardless of whether or not the company would be liable, it's just the right thing to do.
I think that you should take some form of action but what action you take depends entirely on the severity of their behavior and the position of the employee. Severity of behavior - If it's something that could hurt the employee's reputation and possibly the company's, then was it sexual in nature in any way? If the employee is making racy remarks, unwanted advances, or unwanted physical contact then you could be faced with hostile environment harassment claims. Even if not now, then perhaps in the future as some employees tend to hold things in their arsenal until they're in trouble and then let it rip... you can't write me up for X just look at what you tolerated from so and so at the company picnic. Many employers think that BYOB cuts off the corporate liability but that's not the case - company function, company responsibility. Also, was this exclusively a corporate event meaning that there weren't any vendors, spouses, or other non-employees at the function? I assume that when you mentioned the company's reputation you're considering what non-employees may have seen and thought about the behavior and the level of professionalism at your company. Level of position - It sounds as if the employee isn't in a leadership role, however, if they are then they should be leading by example which should by no means include drunken, boorish behavior. If too much time hasn't passed since the event, I'd have their supervisor talk with them about the behavior and let them know that it lends to rumors and gossip as well as people speculating on his/her level responsibility and their credibility. You also need to think about the level of productivity (or lack there of) as the employees will be chatting about this for days after. You may also want to consider cutting out alcohol at the events or changing your policy so the company supplies the alcohol but limits the consumption to 2-3 alcoholic beverages per person. Obviously, the timing of such a change should be such that it doesn't cause more gossip and speculation about what this employee "gotten taken away from the others!"
In this day it is hard to believe there are still companies willing to participate in such a risk. The liability issues associated with intoxication are far reaching. There was an upper level manager that lost his job the day after our last Christmas party because he was so eniebriated. This manager was offensive, rude, and threatened an entry level employee who filled an complaint with my office the next day. There was also DUI's that damaged the companies reputation in the community from managment level. We were fortunate nobody was killed or injured. Company events should not include alcohol.
My company a couple years back provided drinks at our Christmas Party. We also had an employee, well several, but on that comes to mind who had too much to drink and made a scene, taking away from the party. Enlight of this event and the struggle to get him in a cab verses taking his own car, and more imporatantly the liability on the company, we no long allow alcoholic beverages at party's.