Employers – Tips for hosting your Christmas function

The annual Christmas function is often the biggest event on the work social calendar. It is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements for the year and to socialise with colleagues in a relaxed environment.

However, the combination of a party and alcohol is a recipe for an increased risk of health and safety issues, and inappropriate behaviour such as sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and harassment.

Employers should be mindful of their responsibilities for their employees when hosting the Christmas function. It is still an event that occurs ‘in the course of employment’ and employers could be held vicariously liable for any inappropriate behaviour or injuries sustained if they have failed to take reasonable steps to reduce or mitigate the risks of such incidents occurring.

To minimise these risks, employers should:

  • Remind staff to be safe, act responsibly and behave appropriately.
  • Remind staff of your internal policies regarding sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, drugs and alcohol, and even social media.
  • Ensure the responsible serving of alcohol by providing enough food, non-alcoholic beverages and by ensuring that alcohol is not served to those who are intoxicated.
  • Ensure that your employees can get home safely by selecting a venue that is close to public transport, arranging transport home for employees or providing taxi vouchers.
  • Minimise the risk of injuries at the venue by monitoring or even blocking off hazardous areas.

We hope you enjoy your Christmas function and we wish you a safe and merry Christmas.

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