Office Christmas parties – A time of good cheer, but not too much

The office party season is in full swing. However, employers should be careful not to let celebrations get out of hand. A few practical steps can help prevent any embarassing incidents and potential litigation:

  1. employees should be reminded in advance that workplace policies continue to apply and responsible behaviour is expected;
  2. non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks should be readily available and there should be a limit on the amount of alcohol available;
  3. food should also be readily available so employees are not drinking on an empty stomach;
  4. a finishing time for the office party should be made known beforehand;
  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. a senior person should be nominated to monitor the behaviour of staff at the party and should be prepared to intervene if unacceptable behaviour is occurring or is about to occur;
  7. good humoured pranks should be discouraged as they can all too often go wrong.

REMINDER – Workplace bullying laws commence from 1 January 2014

The Fair Work Act amendments which allow workers to apply to the Fair Work Commission to stop bullying come into force from 1 January 2014. Employers should ensure that they have bullying and complaint investigation policies and procedures in place and that these policies are followed. Only sole traders, partnerships and non trading charitable organisations will be exempt from these laws.

Christmas closure

Rob will be on leave from 15 December 2013 to 20 January 2014. It would be appreciated if any new matters could await his return. However, please contact the AWL office if a matter is urgent and arrangements for alternative representation and advice can be made over this period.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year