Your employee has a traffic accident while intoxicated after a company party. Are you liable for that?

The end of the year and New Year's period is the festive period par excellence. Perhaps a glass is also served at your workplace at the end of the year or on the occasion of the New Year. Nothing wrong with that in itself, it can even strengthen the bond between your employees. But what if one of your employees has an accident after such a party at work?

Legal framework

Legally speaking, you as an employer cannot, in principle, be held liable for the accident. Your employee is responsible for this. You can prohibit an employee from driving drunk. When a context has been created in which the employee felt 'obliged' to use alcohol, the court can in exceptional cases decide to hold the employer liable.

On a human level

Apart from the legal liability, you as an employer have a social responsibility. The consequences of a serious accident for your employee and possible victims are far-reaching and often lifelong. You can prevent this by pointing out his responsibility after a company party.

What can you do?

  1. Provide a provision in your work regulations about alcohol use at work. It is possible to maintain a zero tolerance around alcohol. After all, the employer is responsible for the well-being of its employee and must do everything in its power to prevent accidents.
  2. Make your employees aware of the risks in traffic and the factors (such as alcohol) that influence them within the framework of the Welfare Act.

Tip : Vzw Rondpunt published a handbook and organizes testimonials from road victims and relatives in companies. Experience shows that after such a testimony, employees think about their own behavior in traffic. The basis for any behavioral change.

How do you guarantee the safety of your employees during/after the New Year's reception?”

A New Year's reception is a recurring custom in 75% of companies in Belgium. Employees are committed to your company for a whole year and deserve a party. Here are a few tips to allow those employees to go home safely after such a party:

  • you reward employees who volunteer as BOB;
  • you organize a taxi service with the company for the partygoers;
  • you choose to serve alcohol but limit it to a maximum of 2 glasses per person;
  • you ensure that the partygoers can test themselves with an alcohol tester (Dräger A3000) when leaving the reception
  • you have all employees brought home (taxi or BOB) who blow positive
  • you choose not to serve alcohol and serve a non-alcoholic cocktail that is at least as tasty;
  • you organize your New Year's party in a hotel and let your employees stay overnight;

New Year's Eve receptions are not the only occasion when the safety of your employees is important. There is a clear legal framework, such as CAO 100, which obliges you to conduct a preventive alcohol policy in the company. You decide which rules you have regarding alcohol consumption during working hours and during 'social activities' such as a company party.

Working on a road safety policy in your company is important, but not self-evident. The Rondpunt vzw handbook allows you to develop an integrated policy to prevent traffic accidents and to pay attention to the relief and reintegration after an accident.

The traffic testimonials of Rondpunt vzw are a first step towards road safety within your company. The story of a person involved in a traffic accident makes your employees more susceptible to recommendations regarding safe behavior in traffic and to enter into a dialogue about this. Rondpunt has already tested this within various companies.

Source: Unizo

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