Companies interested in creating responsible hospitality policies need to focus on three areas of risk exposure:

Hosted Events

When a company decides to organize a hospitality event where alcoholic beverages will be served, it is important to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for all guests.

This year's picnic was like all others. An annual occasion to bring employees and their families together, provide positive recognition to those for doing exceptional work for the company, and to create camaraderie among managers and staff. The planing committee did a great job organizing the event, which raffle prizes, recognition's awards, and plenty of food and drinks.

Although it was not required, department heads emphasized they wanted their staff to be well represented in the softball tournament. Everyone felt obligated to attend though many just stayed for a short while. Charlie, a member of the planning committee and first baseman for the team, was one of those who felt obligated to empty the beer keg. While driving home, he crossed the median and crashed head-on to a mini-van with a family returning from the amusement park. Charlie broke his back and lost the use of his legs.

The driver of the other car was killed and a child in the back seat lost her eyesight. Charlie filed a workers compensation claim and is suing the company. The survivors of the other car are also suing the company.

Employee Host Responsibility

Companies can provide host responsibility messages and information to their employees.

It was the busiest time of the year. Orders were backing up and delivery drivers were putting in overtime just to keep up. The driver team was experienced, working together for a number of years and knew the routes very well. Ted had a party to bring the team together and relieve some of the stress. Mary, one of the company's best drivers, attended Ted's party. She called in Monday morning reporting she was in a car accident and was arrested for DUI. She lost her license and could not drive until her court appearance scheduled in three weeks.

Community Involvement

Businesses can become actively involved in community programs and projects seeking to reduce alcohol abuse. Patronizing hospitality businesses with strict policies and practices on beverage service can promote market force changes for safer communities and healthier businesses.

An audit of the shipping department records showed more than $300,000 in payments was authorized to non-existent companies. An investigation showed the department head, Joe, has a long-standing drinking problem. His staff covered for him and his mistakes. They also set-up the bogus accounts, and when Joe came back from extended drinking lunches, employees got him to sign the false authorizations.

Kathy the chair of the safety committee from the human resources department was surprised to see the increasing number of accident claims from the productions department. They were the most active in the safety program, and for the past three years always had the best safety records. After an investigation, Kathy discovered four months ago, a new bar opened across from the plant, and special drink promotions brought in many of the workers during lunch breaks.