Now is the time of year for many businesses to have their annual Christmas parties. Before dusting off your Santa hat, consider your responsibilities in protecting your staff and your business.
Businesses should be aware of the risks that can arise when holding an office party, whether at Christmas or for any other event. Employers can be responsible for the actions of their employees at such events (such as for sexual harassment and the like) and for injuries that arise as a result of such celebrations.
Employees should be made aware that a Christmas party is a work event and that, although it is a time to relax and enjoy themselves, they need to remain responsible and respectful.
HOW TO MINIMISE THE RISKS
To minimise the risks to your business, there are many things you can do, including:
- Making those members of staff attending aware of their responsibilities and that inappropriate behaviour cannot be allowed;
- Ensuring responsible service of alcohol – by using a third party venue or hiring suitably trained waitstaff;
- Having correctly worded Employment Contracts for all employees;
- Putting in place appropriate Workplace Policies – not just for harassment, intimidation and discrimination, but for social media, taking photographs of others, texting and the like;
- Reviewing your insurance coverage;
Considering transport arrangements for staff to and from the venue, using a buddy system or inviting partners.
Craig Pryor is principal solicitor at McKillop Legal. For further information in relation to employment issues or any business or commercial law matter, contact Craig Pryor on (02) 9521 2455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.GWM Adviser Services Ltd is not responsible for the advice and services provided by McKillop Legal or McKillop Property. Fionne McKillop is a director of McKillop Legal Pty Ltd and as a result, will receive distributions and/or other benefits from McKillop Legal Pty Ltd.