With the festive season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the annual work Christmas party. And yes, while it’s a great time to celebrate the hard work everyone has put in throughout the year, silly season celebrations with their laid-back atmospheres and presence of alcohol can come with an increased chance of risky and/or inappropriate behaviour.
In some cases, employers may be liable for inappropriate behaviour, including harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, workplace health and safety issues that occur at these types of functions.
“When it comes to work Christmas parties, employers need to make sure workers understand what behaviour and conduct is acceptable, and what the repercussions could be if misconduct occurs,” says WorkCover Queensland Industry Manager Melissa Steadman.
It is important to note that these events even when being held after-hours and off-site, are still considered a ‘work activity’ under work-related legislation.
Tips to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Christmas work function
- Review workplace policies for bullying, social media and alcohol and ensure all staff has received training
- Remind staff the event is a work-related function and that workplace policies and rules, therefore, apply
- Monitor the consumption of alcohol during the event
- Provide non-alcoholic drinks and sufficient food
- Make sure all staff are aware of when the event starts and ends
OHS Policies: Guide Expected Behaviours
Ensure your staff are aware of acceptable behaviour. Compliance documents to help your workplace celebrate safely are listed below: