Company Picnics

Portrait of young men frying sausages and talking in the countryReader Question: We are planning a company picnic. What should we be concerned about / plan for if serving alcoholic beverages?
– Executive Assistant, Information Technology Firm


Members of management should be briefed in advance that they are to monitor as best as possible the behavior of employees and their guests when it comes to alcoholic consumption. Where possible anyone ingesting excessive amounts of alcohol should be tactfully taken aside and counseled. Lastly be sure to keep an eye on those that do drink a fair amount at the time they are getting ready to leave, aggressively attempting to stop anyone impaired from driving. Have the number for a cab company or two — or at the least get them a ride home. Remember, you CAN BE liable as an employer for their actions if they take the wheel after consuming alcohol at your party.

Reader Question: An employee who has been on leave under FMLA would like to attend our upcoming company picnic. Should I allow her to attend?

– HR Manager, Public Services


In almost all cases this should not be an issue at all. That being said, there are some pitfalls and concerns. If the leave involves their own health then it may be a wise precautionary measure to secure a doctor’s note allowing them to attend. If the leave is in any way being disputed or challenged or has been unpleasant in some fashion then you should use discretion and know you have the right to ask them to not attend. Overall just think through the issues as you assess your decision.