5 Tips to Minimise Your Exposure At “The Christmas Party”
As the Christmas season approaches it's timely to think about the ways in which our exposure to unsavory and potentially costly behaviours and incidents can be managed.
Thanks to the team at Aitken Legal-Employment Law Specialists, for the following tips to minimise your exposure from claims by employees arising out of the Christmas party.
Read about an actual 2014 case study here that lead to an unfair dismissal claim being upheld.
1. Advertise the function/party as a work function
An employee will find it difficult to argue that your workplace standards do not apply where the occasion was clearly designated as a work function.
2. Advise your employees as to their obligations
Whilst you do not want to discourage your employees from attending your workplace function by threatening disciplinary action before the party even gets started, retraining on applicable workplace policies, reminders about responsible consumption of alcohol and adherence to company policies and procedures can be effective ways of reminding your employees that inappropriate behaviour will not tolerated. Employees should be advised that the same standard of behaviour is expected at the Christmas party as that which occurs in the office and action will be taken against any employee who breaches the required standards of behaviour.
3. Serve Non Alcoholic Drinks, Low Alcohol Drinks and Food
Giving your employees the choice to drink and/or consume alcohol responsibly will lessen your responsibility as an employer for any alcohol fuelled incidents. Ensuring there is plenty of food available will also reduce the state of inebriation of your party goers.
4. Set a ‘cut off’ time and/or a closing time
Letting your employees consume alcohol under the business banner into the early hours of the morning is a recipe for a harassment claim, sexual harassment claim or other discrimination or misconduct claim, as is evident from the above case. Monitoring your employees’ consumption of alcohol and arranging and advertising a conclusion to your work function are good ways of ensuring that your employees do not get themselves or the business in trouble. You should clearly make it known when the party is at an end and be clear those employees who choose to kick on to an after party after the work function ends do so at their own risk and any conduct after the cut-off time is not sanctioned or approved by the employer.
5. Arrange for a safe method of transport home
Arranging for buses, taxis and other rides is a great way of reducing the chance of issues arising at the conclusion of the festivities. Not only does this allow everyone to have a good time without having to ‘make their own way home’, it also allows you to account for your staff at that time of the night and ensure their safety.
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