As Holiday office parties approach, many companies may understandably worry about their liability if they serve alcohol. How worried they should be depends on the state in which the party will take place. Those in Florida have less to worry about than most. In fact, Florida’s “dram shop” laws are quite solicitous of bars, restaurants, liquor stores – anyone serving alcohol, including at the office holiday party. And it does not matter if one makes a profit on the booze.
In the Sunshine State, sellers and providers of alcohol are expressly shielded from liability for the harm caused by an intoxicated person they served. There are only two exceptions – for serving a minor, and for knowingly serving a habitual drunk.
That does not mean your company cannot be sued. One’s knowledge of another’s alcohol addiction may be proved by circumstantial evidence. People will sometimes try. But a Florida corporation can let its employees enjoy eggnog with greater peace of mind than most.