Volume 2, Issue 7
November 2009
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                                    Alcohol Liability : It's Christmas Party Season

With Christmas just around the corner, many companies are beginning to plan their corporate events, parties and festivities.  Before making alcohol available to employees at these functions, it is important for companies to understand their legal responsibilities.  Employers can potentially face civil liability when hosting, organizing or sponsoring events that involve alcohol.

Provider Liability
Provider liability occurs when those who provide, serve or make alcohol available to a person who they know or should know is already intoxicated.  Provider liability does not prevent individuals from being hosts and serving alcohol.  The case of Jacobsen vs. Nike Canada Ltd. is one example of legal precedent that has been established in court.  

Supervisors purchased and consumed dinner, soft drinks and 36 beers with Nike employees towards the end of a 16 hour workday.  The plaintiff, a 19 year old, consumed at least eight beers during this time in which he would have been displaying obvious signs of intoxication.     
After leaving work, he went to a bar where he consumed at least three more drinks before falling asleep while driving home.  His accident left him a quadriplegic.  While the plaintiff achknowledged his own negligence, the court found Nike Canada liable for 75% of damages for two reasons:          

1.  Nike, as an alcohol provider, had a duty to monitor its employees' consumption and take steps to prevent them from driving when they knew, or should have known that their employees were likely impaired.  This is lthe same standard applied to a licensed commercial establishment.

2.  Nike had a duty to maintain a safe workplace.  Nike required workers to bring their cars to work and knew they would be driving home.  In effect, drinking and driving was made part of the working conditions that day.

Occupier Liability
Occupier liability occurs when alcohol-induced injuries occur on property owned or rented by an employer even if alcohol was not provided.  An occupier is anyone in possession of property with the power to control who enters or remains.  An employer would be considered an occupier when hosting a party on company property, at their home, or renting a banquet room, but not when reserving a room at a restaurant.  Occupiers must ensure that their property is reasonably safe in terms of physical conditions, those who enter and remain and the activities allowed to occur. 

What can a company due to protect themselves?

        Review you company's Drug and Alcohol Policy.  Your policy should contain procedures regarding:

o   Alcohol consumption prior to driving any company vehicle

o   Provision of alcohol during business meetings or entertaining

o   Alcohol consumption on company property

o   Alcohol use at company parties and activities

Consider hosting events at a licenses establishment with experience running events as oppossed to on your own property or property that you are renting.

Have a plan in place to ensure that guests who are intoxicated have a way to get home (eg. provide cab numbers, check keys, provide cab fare)

Ensure that servers have some experience and training.  At a minimum, they should be able to identify the signs of intoxication, understand their obligations under the liquor legislation and realize that they may be held civilly liable.

Make food and non-alcoholic drinks available throughout the course of the event.

SureHire can review your company policy to make sure it is compliant with current legislation, and covers all aspects of an effective drug and alcohol program.  For more information, contact SureHire at 1-866-944-HIRE.

H1N1 and the Workplace: UPDATE
Our last issue of SureNews discussed all things related to the H1N1 virus including transmission, signs and symptoms and workplace controls.  However, with flu season officially beginning and vaccination clinics in full swing, it is worth re-educating both employers and employees on the very important role that they play in minimizing the spread of this disease.

The Stomach Flu
Many people associate gastrointestinal upset with the “stomach flu”.  However, the “stomach flu” is usually gastroenteritis (inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestines) which may be caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites in unclean water or spoiled food.  The influenza is actually a respiratory disease and only sometimes causes gastrointestinal issues.

It is highly recommended that those people who display any symptoms of the H1N1 virus should stay home.  Transmission of the disease can occur approximately one day before the onset of symptoms to approximately one week from when the symptoms began (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009). It can take between two and seven days for an individual to feel symptoms once infected (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009)

Workplace Tactics and Prevention
The following is a brief list of the things employers can do to prevent the spread of H1N1 in the workplace.

1.       Early identification of influenza like symptoms (Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, 2009)
Send company-wide emails or post lists of the following signs and symptoms of influenza:

Almost Always: Common: Sometimes:
Cough and Fever

Muscle Aches
Sore Throat
Decreased Appetite
Runny Nose

2.   Self-isolation
Anyone who exhibits signs or symptoms of the influenza should be encouraged to stay home and minimize contact with others until their symptoms have subsided.

1.       Post and encourage proper coughing and hand-washing etiquette.

2.       Consider increasing the amount of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers.

3.       Environmental cleaning.

The influenza virus can last up to 3 days on surfaces.  It is recommended that computer keyboards, bathroom faucets and door handles are cleaned up to twice a day with commercial household wipes.

4.   Encourage your employees to get vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine.
By encouraging a few of these basic prevention measures, your company can reduce the impact of the H1N1 virus on your employees, business and revenue.

SureHire Updates
1. We have updated our physiotherapy network for full body musculoskeletal physicals:

SureHire will soon be offering our proprietary medical and physical assessments outside of our SureHire Power Centres.  We are currently training several physiotherapists in locations across Western Canada including:

Vancouver, BC
Penticton, BC
Kelowna, BC
Prince George, BC
Regina, SK
Estevan, SK
Winnipeg, MB

2. SureHire Red Deer has moved locations:

Our Red Deer location have moved  out of Springbrook, and directly into the heart of Red Deer.  The new address is:
#9, 7875 - 48 St.
Red Deer, AB  T4P 2K1
1-866-944-HIRE (4473)

#105, 7611 Sparrow Dr.
Leduc, Alberta  T9E 0H3

11822 - 160 St.
Edmonton, Alberta   T5V 1C7
Bay #9,  2824 - 58 Ave. SE
Calgary, Alberta  T2C 0B3
Grande Prairie
#106, 10126 - 97 Ave.
Grande Prairie, Alberta   T8V 7X6

Red Deer
#9, 7875 - 48 St.
Red Deer, Alberta  T4P 2K1
Medicine Hat
762 - 15 St. SW
Medicine Hat, Alberta  T1A 4W6
4305 - 57 Ave. Suite A
Lloydminster, Alberta  T9V 1Y4

#104, 46167 Yale Road
Chilliwack, British Columbia  V2P 2P2
91 Driscoll Drive
Moncton, New Brunswick  E1E 4C8
St. John's
20 Highland Dr.
St. John's, Newfoundland  A1A 5B5

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Opening in 2010