Avoid the post-Christmas party blues

The festive season is soon approaching, along with Christmas cheer and the work Christmas party.

End of year celebrations are a great way to bond with colleagues and conclude the year on a positive note by celebrating the year’s achievements. Although Christmas parties are a fun filled event, it is essential that employers remind themselves that they are responsible for this event. Therefore, employers will be held liable and need to provide a duty of care by OH&S standards to all employees.

Due to the fact that employers are hosts of the Christmas party, they have the legal obligation to ensure there is no post-Christmas party legal and HR aftermath. In addition to this, employers are also responsible for the service of alcohol at the venue and are required to supply food, low alcohol and non-alcoholic drink options. If the event is not in a licensed venue, it is important to employ staff trained in the responsible service of alcohol.

It is important for employers to consider notifying their staff of a start and finish time of the party of which they will be held responsible, and ensure it is clearly stated that any after-party events are not employer endorsed. We also advise that employers organise transportation, such as taxis and public transport, to and from the venue to ensure all staff members get home safely. If there is anyone you feel is responsible to oversee the event and ensure everything runs smoothly, we recommend that you assign them to that task.

In order to ensure the safe running of the Christmas party, provide a code of conduct to employees with acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at the work-related function, this can be distributed by a friendly email. Offensive behaviour and misconduct that is discriminatory or harassing in nature can result in employers being sued for their negligence.

Remind employees and ensure they are aware that your workplace’s social media policy is applicable during this event and to be cautious of posting anything online that may negatively impact your business’s brand.

These simple precautions can help to minimise risks ensuring stress-free celebrations all around.