We have all been to Christmas parties which have become a bit messy as the afternoon/night has worn on.   Both employers and workers need to be aware of the significant risks involved in letting Christmas events get out of hand.  This can range from one or more employees needing a few days off, to employee misconduct and harassment complaints needing investigation, potential workers compensation claims and workplace health and safety complaints as well as the ever present threat of social media publicisation.  Its a headache that no one needs.  A Christmas event should be an opportunity to celebrate but is still “work”.

A few practical steps can help prevent any embarrassing incidents and potential litigation:

  1. staff should be encouraged to have a good time but should be reminded in advance that the event is a workplace function, that workplace policies continue to apply and responsible behaviour is expected;
  2. a finishing time should be made known beforehand;
  3. one or more senior persons should be nominated to keep an eye on the behaviour of staff at the party and they should intervene if unacceptable behaviour is occurring or is about to occur;
  4. good humoured pranks should be discouraged as they can all too often go wrong;
  5. there should be a limit on the amount of alcohol available and non or low alcoholic drinks and food should be available;
  6. an assessment of safety risks should be undertaken if the employer is hosting the party themselves.  Alternatively, enquiries should be made to ensure a third party host has a safe environment and a good safety record;
  7. a safe means of transport such as a taxi should be arranged for anyone who has had too much to drink, or it it is late at night, lives a significant distance from the venue.

Christmas hours

Rob will be away on leave from Thursday 10 December 2015 until Monday 4 January 2016.  Our office will be closed from midday on Thursday 24 December 2015 and will re open on 4 January 2016.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year