The office Christmas party season will soon be in full swing again.  Employers should be careful not to let celebrations get out of hand.  A few practical steps can help prevent any embarrassing incidents, disciplinary action and potential litigation:

  1. Employees should be reminded in advance that workplace policies continue to apply and responsible behaviour is expected;
  2. A finishing time for the office party should be made known beforehand;
  3. One or more senior persons should be nominated to monitor the behaviour of staff at the party and intervene if unacceptable behaviour is occurring or about to occur;
  4. Food and non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks should be readily available and there should be a limit on the amount of alcohol available;
  5. A safe means of transport such as a taxi should be arranged for any employees who have had too much to drink or who, if it is late at night, live a significant distance from the venue;
  6. Good humoured pranks should be discouraged as they can all too often go wrong;
  7. Supervisors should be alert to the risk of over familiar behaviour and inappropriate/insensitive talk;
  8. An assessment of safety risks should be undertaken if the employer is hosting the party themselves.  Alternatively, enquiries should be made to ensure a host venue has a safe environment and a good safety record;
  9. It should be made clear that “after parties” are discouraged and not sanctioned by the employer;
  10. If any incidents do occur, they should be addressed as soon as practicable after the party.

Leave arrangements

Rob Stevenson will be away on leave from the close of business on 3 November 2017 and will return to the office on Tuesday 5 December 2017.  Referral arrangements are in place for this period and we hope any inconvenience will be minimal.