We are living in a corporate world. Today, more than ever before, employees are working more. And like Donna Summer said they work “hard for the money, so hard for it honey…” Any person trying to climb the corporate ladder knows, if you don’t go the extra mile, be prepared to be replaced by someone who will. It is not uncommon for an employee to work 9-5 and then go immediately to a networking or marketing event after hours for which they receive no compensation.
As a result of the increasing burden and demands on employees, many companies offer employee perks such as cell phones, computers and company vehicles. These perks are a win/win – they come at no cost to the employee, and for the employer, there is an added benefit – the employee can easily maneuver from place to place and be accessible which turns into realized profit. Most companies have policies in place providing an employee can only use a company vehicle, phone or computer when they are “on-the-clock” and that these perks are to be used for “business purposes” only. The mix of company perks and after hours expectations create blurred lines with respect to legal liability.
It’s New Orleans, and we all love the Saints. On any given Sunday, you can walk through the Superdome and see countless suites sponsored by corporate entities flowing with laughter, food and booze. Here’s the scenario, a company salesman hops in his company car on a Sunday to pick up some clients and take them to the game. Upon arriving , they all go to the company suite, drink liquor purchased and provided by the company, and after a big win and one too many rounds of tequila shots and singing “stand-up and get crunk”, the employee drives home in the company vehicle causing a devastating accident. Who is responsible? What rights do the victims have? Is the company on the hook?