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Christmas Party Season and Employer Responsibilities

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

And just like that it’s the Christmas Party season again.

Christmas parties are great for boosting morale, especially after a challenging year or two.

For employers and HR especially, this season also brings certain concerns and risks with intoxicated employees and the potential for inappropriate behaviour, with some of the common complaints including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and harassment and breaches of policy.

As an employer it is essential to remember your legal responsibilities that remain in place during this time and even though it’s a Christmas Party it legally is still considered ‘the workplace’.

Top tips for employers

1. Ensure workplace policies are up to date

  • Employees sometimes forget what is or isn’t appropriate behaviour at work functions, a good idea is to redistribute workplace polices prior to the Christmas party, specifically addressing harassment, bulling, workplace health and safety etc..

2. Visit the venue

  • Ensure you have visited the venue to inspect for any hazards prior to the event.

3. Remind employees the Christmas Party is still a work function

  • Briefing employees prior to the Christmas party around expectations and appropriate behaviour is a good way to mitigate potential negative situations.

4. Implement start and finish times

  • This can assist in helping inappropriate behaviour due to alcohol consumption, reminding employees prior to the event that the company doesn’t support activities outside of a set time. Needless to say, if things have a habit of getting out of control due to alcohol consumption, creating a coupon system to limit drinks or something similar might be worth considering. As well as ensuring food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided.

5. Provide safe travel options for employees.

  • Duty of care as a responsible employer is essential, if you are providing alcohol at an event, although it is the employees responsibility to get home safely, organizing other forms of transportation for those that require it is essential.

It goes without saying a successful end of year celebration should be enjoyable for all. Take the time in advance to implement the safety measures and guide your employees, so your Christmas Party is a night to remember.

For assistance with ensuring your policies are up to date or advice around your obligations during the party season, contact one of our local Coaches for their expert advice and assistance.

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