Businesses all around the world are operated based on the ethics of the industry in which the business is operating. As a matter of fact, there are things that are acceptable in an industry that is not acceptable in another industry. This goes to show that one law does not cover all industries.
But when it comes to whether alcohol can be served within a business premise, it depends on what the business is all about and the industry in which the business is operating.
For example, if you have a business in the hospitality industry or if you run a hotel or resort, then you can choose to serve free alcohol in your business premises. But if your business is a sensitive business like a hospital or even a financial institution, it may be morally wrong for you to serve alcohol within your business premises.
But before we can conclude if it is wrong to serve alcohol on business premises, it will be instructive to know what the law says as regard serving free alcohol on business premises.
What Does the Law Say?
Actually, there are no federal laws that regulate whether a business can serve free alcohol within their business premises or not. This is so because the regulation of the sale of alcoholic beverages has been turned over to state and local authorities.
All states are expected to come up with different statutes of limitations regarding who can sell alcohol and who can purchase alcohol.
In the United States, the federal government formally defines an alcoholic beverage as any beverage containing over 0.05 percent alcohol, and most states honor this limit; however, there may be some variability within certain states and localities.
The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984 established the minimum legal drinking age as 21 years old, and almost all states in the United States abide by that standard, even though there are some exceptions.
Please note that the federal government can withhold certain percentages of federal funding if states do not abide by this minimum standard. Again, most states abide by the minimum standard; however, there are some exceptions in some states that allow individuals under the age of 21 to drink alcohol with parents, certain family members, or guardians.
Is There Any Penalty for Serving Free Alcohol in Your Business?
Although there is no penalty when it comes to serving alcohol on business premises because there are no known laws that prevent businesses from serving alcohol within their business premises in the first place. But if you fail to comply with the state alcohol laws, you may be penalized accordingly.
Please note that the penalty will depend on the law you broke. For example, in the United Kingdom, if you are found guilty of serving alcohol in your office premises without having the required license, you may be fined with a penalty of up to £20,000, and/or you may be sentenced to six months imprisonment.
But in the United States, there are no fixed penalties for breaking the alcohol law or serving alcohol on your business premises without having the required alcohol license. In essence, the maximum jail penalties, driver’s license restrictions, and fines when anyone breaks the alcohol laws are determined by different states.
Even though there is no law that categorically stops a business owner from serving free alcohol within their office premises, it is important that a business keeps abreast with all the laws that relate to drinking and serving alcohol within the city, country, or state where their business is domiciled. This will help the business owner stay out of trouble and play by the rules as it relates to alcohol.