The increasingly beautiful weather outside favours outdoor team-building events. Summer is coming, encouraging firms to plan corporate picnics and team retreats. However, businesses planning events of this kind often forget about the many legal compliance duties they have in that regard which, if not fulfilled, may give rise to liability.
Business picnic: 100, 500 or 1000 participants?
In this case numbers do matter a lot. Organising an outdoor team experience for 1000 participants is not a rare sight. Such crowds can easily be gathered by, for example, large manufacturing companies, especially considering that families are often invited as well. In many cases (but obviously not always) it is precisely the availability of 1000 spots for participants that turns a business picnic into a mass event. And this triggers a number of duties for the employer under the Mass Events Safety Act, including, for example, the duty to draw up event rules, ensure an appropriate number of security staff and information service staff, provide appropriate medical assistance, and ensure fire safety. A mass event will also require a permit from relevant authority.
Do I need a permit to organise a mass event?
A staff event needs to be planned well ahead. A permit to organise a mass event must be applied for no later than 30 days before the scheduled event date. The application must be accompanied by a number of documents, so you need to factor in the time needed to collect those, too.
It may be that even a large corporate event will not need a mass event permit. This may happen, for example, if the event is addressed to employees only. The permit may not be needed also in certain other cases specified in the Mass Events Safety Act. Whether or not any of those exemptions applies in your case will, however, require an in-depth legal analysis.
Awards in a company knowledge quiz? Pizza for winning numbers?
Marketing people cudgel their brains about how to organise interesting pastimes. And there is no better incentive to take part in such games than the chance for a good prize. Contests, competitions, draws, games. Do they count as gambling?
The popular raffles are games of chance, as defined in the Gambling Act. These require a permit or must be notified, depending on the value of the prize pool. An employer wishing to organise such a game should, among other things, draw up its rules, ensure documents evidencing that the funds are legitimate, and have a certificate of good standing as regards payment of taxes and social security contributions. The permitting procedure may take as many as two months, another thing to be considered when scheduling the event.
The Gambling Act regimes may be avoided if lottery is replaced with a contest. This is where the participants can showcase their knowledge or creativity. But when organising a contest you often need to take copyright laws into account. The reason is that the participants who came up with funny catchphrases or sent some pictures may turn out to be authors under these laws. So use of their creative output by employers will require an appropriate copyright assignment structure.
Can I boast of my event?
Employers often use corporate events for promotion of their own image. Not infrequently staff event pictures are posted on the internet or in social media. But this practice is not always in full compliance with the law.
A publication of pictures of event participants is an act of communicating their likenesses to the public within the meaning of the Copyright and Related Rights Act. Subject to certain exceptions, such communication requires license from those who are depicted on the photographs. If the pictures are signed with participants’ names, there is also personal data processing involved. This triggers a number of GDPR compliance duties, for example to properly identify the legal grounds for processing and to give a privacy notice.
Better not delay with getting the event organised
All in all, it’s not a good option to leave dealing with legal issues until the last moment. A business picnic requires plenty of multi-faceted coordination while omissions may come to the employer with a steep price tag attached to them. A lottery organised without a required permit or notification generates the risk of financial penalties running to as high as several dozen thousand zlotys. And organising a mass event without a required permit may attract a hefty fine (even up to a million zlotys), accompanied by criminal liability.
It’s not all work and no fun! Sendero bike trip
Date: 30 May 2023
Last week we set forth in a big team on a bike trip to the beautiful hills of the Rudawy Janowickie range.
The weather was just perfect and the landscapes breathtaking. The route was demanding but this made it even more satisfying. There is no shortage of sport lovers and bikers among us, so we’d got this! We covered several dozen kilometres in excellent spirits.
Team-building trips and outings are a regular and awaited feature of Sendero life. We are already planning next ones!