Thursday February 8, 2001
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday February 8, 2001
The End to Office Xmas Parties?
So what will it be now? Waiver forms at the entrance saying the host is not responsible for how much you chug this evening? Maybe a security system that beeps every time someone passes through with car keys?
Monday’s decision by a Barrie judge to order an employer to pay $312,000 to a worker who was brain-damaged in a drunk-driving accident brings to the fore once again the question of who is responsible when someone drinks too much and takes control of a car.
It takes the issue of responsibility for someone else’s drinking one step further down the line than Canada has ever walked before, from decisions that hold tavern owners responsible for serving inebriated clients who suffer injury or inflict injury onto others, to employers at office parties. And it has some believing the next likely step is hosts of private home parties, an issue that has never reached a judgment.
In her decision, Justice Clair Marchand tallied the lost earning, general damages and future care costs at over $1 million. He declared Hunt’s own “self indulgence” in drinking and driving in poor conditions meant she was responsible for three-quarters of that amount. He held Hunt’s employer and the pub she visited 25 per cent responsible. The pub owner is now out of business and there is no insurance. So Sutton Realty is responsible for $312,000. (Hamilton Spectator)