Avoiding the nightmare before Christmas
Most of us have either attended or heard about a work Christmas function where a staff member has been drinking heavily and then manages to get themselves into an unfortunate situation, be it swearing at a senior staff member, being rude to other staff, making unwanted sexual advances, or even finding themselves in trouble with the authorities.
With this in mind, here are some tips to try and avoid the “Nightmare Before Christmas”:
- Ensure that alcohol is served and consumed responsibly, and that appropriate quantities of food are provided and non-alcoholic beverages are available.
- Where possible, monitor all staff regarding their drinking. Note, Managers should be leading by example. Perhaps consider offering alcoholic drinks only for a limited time, or limiting the quantity each staff member is allowed to have by issuing tickets that are exchanged for alcoholic beverages at the bar.
- Implement code of conduct and drug and alcohol policy’s prior to Christmas functions and remind/educate employees on these policies before the function.
- Provide training and advise employees and Managers about the business’s expectations and the standard of conduct required at work functions.
- Make appropriate transport arrangements if alcoholic beverages are served.
- Ensure there is appropriate monitoring and supervision at the party.
- Have in place a complaints process, and take appropriate and timely action if issues arise.
Clear policies are critical
It is important to have clear policies and procedures governing the conduct, behaviour and expectations of employees at Christmas functions (and indeed all staff social functions). Having these policies in place provides clear guidelines for both staff and management in respect of expectations at these events. It also provides a solid foundation for an employer to take disciplinary action against non-complying employees in appropriate cases.
It is important for employers to prepare for Christmas functions because it is easier to take appropriate steps before the function to avoid Christmas party fiascos than having to deal with any aftermath. This preparation would include;
- Educating all staff on workplace policies,
- Ensuring the management team are aware of the expectations,
- Ensure management team are equipped and supported to handle any issues,
- Ensure that transport, supervision and monitoring of the event has been coordinated.
These steps are designed to assist your business in complying with your WHS obligations, and mitigating against workers compensation claims, breaches of WHS obligations, and other harassment claims.
Note: These steps, policies and procedures can be applied to all staff and corporate functions, not just Christmas parties, and it is highly recommended that a broad policy relating conduct at staff and corporate functions that applies equally to management and staff be included in your Staff Handbook.
Get more help
Team Accelerate have partnered with Effective Workplace Solutions to ensure all our legal information and advice is 100% accurate and effective. If you need more information about;
- Issues that may arise from your upcoming Christmas Party (Or any work event for that matter),
- Introducing appropriate policies
- Implementing a Staff Manual
We highly recommend that you connect with them on the details below;
Phone – (02) 6676 3445
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org