Celebrate your success—or not?
2017-01-03 | By BY Peter Van Eijk
First published in ACCESS Autumn 2018 magazine
The first year’s results are in, and your company has outperformed all expectations. Now is the time to reward your team with a great celebration. But can you really afford the risk of a team outing this quarter? Peter van Eijk offers expert insights on the issue of company liability.
Liability: Is it really that important?
Yes, in the Netherlands, liability is a serious issue. Both individuals and companies are expected to have liability insurance to protect them against potential damages. Liability insurance is required for every person in the Netherlands, in the event that they accidentally damage someone else’s property. Companies have liability insurance to cover any damage done by an employee during work.
Because of the emphasis both at corporate and individual levels, liability has become an accepted part of daily life.
Before the party begins…
When you’re planning a fun event for your team, liability may be the last thing on your mind, but before your celebration starts, you’ll want to ensure that you have everything in order.
Whatever event you are planning, from a simple borrel (drinks) evening to a day out in on the beach, a weekend getaway, or a sports competition, consider the potential risks and plan accordingly to ensure your ‘reward’ does not come back to haunt you. Otherwise, when the party ends, you could be the one left holding the bill.
Consider if you’re at risk
Employers have a responsibility to provide their staff with a safe environment in which to work. However, time spent at work can include office outings, as an employee’s ‘work day’ may not end when they leave the office building.
When your team joins a company outing, even if that event has been organised at an external location, and even if attendance is voluntary, you as an employer may still be liable for any events that occur. The more closely that outing or event is related to an employee’s work, the greater the risk of liability for the company. The more closely that outing or event is related to an employee’s work, the greater the risk of liability for the company.
No need to cancel
Don’t panic—your company cannot be held liable for every offense committed by an employee. You as an employer can only be held liable for events that could reasonably be prevented and that relate to work. Liability should not prevent you from celebrating the wins you achieve. To minimise the potential risk, before the event takes place ensure that a safety check has been done and that there is adequate insurance in place.
Ask an expert
If you are uncertain about a particular situation and your liability, get in touch with GMW lawyers’ liability experts Peter van Eijk and Glenn Kerver.