Labour and employment lawyers often write articles at the holiday season about liability for employers arising from their social events at which alcohol is served. And many clients seek opinions or draft workplace policies on the issue. Whether the employer is seeking to manage this issue for business reasons, ethical reasons, or both, when it communicates with its employees, the truth is that these employers are trying to manage the issue for their own reasons.
Of course, the employer hopes that its goals in this regard will line up with those of its employees. We all want other members of society to make socially responsible decisions not to put themselves, their families or third parties at risk by drinking and driving. But the sad truth is that, for whatever reason, some people do continue to drive under the influence.
Recently, criminal lawyer Rosalind Conway quantified the cost of a conviction for driving under the influence at $20,000 (http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201105168451/Commentary/A-Criminal-Mind-The-cost-of-DUIs-taxis-never-looked-so-sensible). Telling your employees exactly what the cost of a conviction (both the impact on their wallet and their right to get back behind the wheel) may be just the motivation they need to take up your offer of a taxi chit following the next company social event. If their commitment to social responsibility won’t do the trick, maybe the dollars and cents will be the sobering information they need to see.