CUNA Mutual Group Risk Alert: Don’t Let Holiday Fun Ruin Your Credit Union Reputation

As the holiday season approaches, credit unions will host company parties. These events can be a great way to reward employees and volunteers for their hard work and boost employee morale. Don’t let the benefits of these celebrations overshadow the legal and safety risks they can create. Plan ahead now to keep these celebrations and preparation both safe and fun. Organizing events introduces uncertainties and uncertainties can quickly result in harm to people, property, and reputation.

Parties and celebrations are a wonderful part of the holiday season. Many credit unions host a holiday gathering to reward employees and volunteers for a successful year. However, careful planning is required to keep the festivities safe and fun.

Remember, although your employees and volunteers are off-the-clock, your credit union may still be responsible for acts that occur during or after the celebration. Unfortunately, with today’s litigious climate, you should prepare now to avoid any costly and embarrassing consequences.

In addition, be sure to have the necessary policies and procedures in place when operating credit union vehicles. This means no impaired driving, no texting and driving, and only allowing properly licensed and approved credit union drivers to operate the vehicle.

When planning and managing risks associated with special events – such as a holiday event – credit unions should consider proper planning and staging activities. Proactive planning by event organizers means nothing should be left to chance. Event organizers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment and to ensure that credit union reputation isn’t harmed and that people are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

Proper risk management is part of a credit union’s responsibility when sponsoring events. By properly identifying potential risks and determining proper mitigation objectives, the credit union can move forward with reduced odds of damaging the organization’s reputation.

Risk Mitigation
Consider these risk mitigation tips to help protect against the risk of operating credit union vehicles:

  • Require all drivers to be properly licensed and obtain Motor Vehicle Reports on all eligible drivers annually.
  • Require all drivers to report any infraction/accident immediately. Inform drivers they are responsible for any fines or penalties incurred from driving infractions.
  • Drivers should not be allowed to operate company vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol or prescribed / over-the-counter medication which will make them drowsy.
  • Laws regarding texting and “hands free” use of a phone should be followed.
  • Drivers should sign an acknowledgement stating they have read and understand the credit union’s Use of Vehicle Policy.

When planning your holiday celebration keep your employees, volunteers, and your credit union safe and secure by following these tips:

  • Hire a licensed bartender, if offering alcoholic beverages. This individual can keep an eye on your employees and guests and cut off individuals that have reached their limit. Remember, a credit union that serves alcohol to an already intoxicated employee at a company-sponsored event could be responsible for accidents and injuries caused by that employee.
  • Offer alcohol-free choices for designated drivers and those who do not wish to consume alcohol. Have numbers for local taxi companies and/or other saferide options handy and visible.
  • Limit the party to a couple of hours and have it end early.
  • Pick an offsite location if your celebration is after hours.
  • Serve food to encourage guests to drink moderately. If food is catered, consider having the caterer provide you with a certificate of insurance to cover their liability.
  • Remind your workforce that your organization’s policies apply to off-site, company sponsored events.

Risk Prevention Resources
Access CUNA Mutual Group’s Protection Resource Center at for exclusive risk and compliance resources to assist with your loss control. The Protection Resource Center requires a User ID and password.

Review these resources for more information: