With the silly season nearly upon us, the staff Christmas function is a hot topic of conversation around the coffee machine.
As you are no doubt on the cusp of holding this year's Christmas function, it's now a good time to remind you of the risks involved in end of year functions and the risks alcohol can bring to a business. Over the years, there have been many cases where employees have sought damages from employers for negligence, sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour from one staff member to another.
Without being a party pooper it is advisable that as a business you try to reduce any possible risk of adverse actions occurring at your Christmas party, please consider, the below:
- Set a clear start and finish time for the function.
Ensure that alcohol, if available, is served responsibly and there is plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.
- Ensure that everyone can safely get home after the event i.e. taxis are easily accessible and that no-one drinks and drives.
- Nominate 'supervisors' for the party – managers to keep an eye on staff ensuring that everyone is having a good time but not in excess.
Prior to the event, advise employees that the Christmas party is a work event and that they are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which they would in the workplace. Remind staff of policies that may be used for the basis of any disciplinary action if things go wrong. A good opportunity to remind staff of your code of conduct, sexual harassment, discrimination, workplace harassment and code of conduct policies (draft email below).
- Ensure there is a complaints process for any issues that may arise after the Christmas party.
- Finally, ensure that your insurances cover typical Christmas party activities.
Draft email to all employees.
It's been a great 2015 for ___company name_________ and we have a lot to celebrate at this year's Christmas function.
Whilst we want to celebrate the success of 2015 with great colleagues and great food and drinks, I do need to remind you that you will be attending a work function and that all employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which they would in the workplace.
____company name ________ has a duty of care for all its employees and remind you of your responsibilities under our various policies and procedures such as Work Health and Safety, Code of Conduct, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination.
I wish you and your families a safe and merry Christmas and look forward to working with you all throughout 2016.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
It's a wonderful time of the year and a great time to celebrate all the hard work completed with your staff over the year, take time to enjoy the Christmas function and to form stronger relationships with your staff.
If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about employer obligations and reducing risks to your business give us a call.
Renee: 0416 245 339 or Nina: 0422 647 005. firstname.lastname@example.org or www.humanresourcing.com.au .
Integrated Human Resourcing would like to wish you, your staff and your families a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.