As workplaces around Australia wind down for another year, employers are turning their attention towards the office Christmas party.
Some Christmas Parties are a simple, effortless get-together amongst colleagues. However, unfortunately, others are not.
They can turn into a horror story littered with alcohol-fuelled incidents. It can be a challenge to organise an event without unruly staff behaviour causing long term consequences for the business, professional relationships, and individual careers.
Business owners must always be mindful that their primary duty of care to their employees extends to work-related events, and this includes the annual Christmas party.
Employers should have clear documented policies outlining employee obligations and expected standards of conduct at work related events.
In the lead up to the party, employers must ensure that staff are reminded of the standards of acceptable behaviour and their obligations to comply with company policies; particularly bullying and harassment, drugs and alcohol, and health and safety.
Ways to minimise risk at your Christmas Party can include:
- Make sure your workplace policies are up to date.
- Remind your staff that a Christmas party is still a work function.
- Enforce start and end times for the party and advise that any activities conducted after these times are NOT an extension of the Christmas party.
- Offer a variety of food, drinks & entertainment options so everyone can participate.
- Be mindful that an Open Bar policy can be a recipe for over-indulgence. (I.e. consider drink tokens or smaller bar tabs)
- Designate a responsible “sober staff” – typically a senior staff member who can observe staff conduct and act to quell any “boozy” behaviour.
Every business owner should be prepared and know their obligations. Incidents can happen at any given time, and some of them can result in serious consequences for all involved.
And, while it can feel like an instant termination is warranted; dismissing an employee for poor misconduct is not an open and shut case.
To avoid any Christmas party disasters, employers should plan ahead and stay prepared.
At Employsure, we support over 30,000 businesses across Australia & NZ with their Workplace Relations and Health & Safety obligations.
Please contact Brett Winduss (0418 935 057 or email@example.com) to discuss how Employsure can support YOUR business with any of the above.