Managing risk at a work Christmas party

All employers should have a plan in place prior to holding their Christmas function.

We recommend the following:

  1. Review your relevant company policies (i.e code of conduct, bullying and harassment policy, drug and alcohol policy and social media policy) to ensure they are adequate, appropriate and up-to-date
  2. Communicate about the relevant policies and meet with employees to remind them of their obligations under each policy
  3. Ensure all employees are aware that the function is work-related and all usual work policies apply
  4. Remind staff that any misconduct or misbehaviour may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment
  5. Put in place and communicate to staff a COVIDSafe function plan to ensure proper hygiene, social distancing and observing of government guidelines for maximum numbers indoors
  6. Given the increased risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus indoors, particularly in venues where food and alcohol are consumed, consider holding the event outside and during the day
  7. Consider hosting a virtual Christmas party this year
  8. Ensure that any chosen function venue has a system for responsible service of alcohol and a demonstrated plan for removing inebriated patrons
  9. Ensure there is sufficient food available at the function
  10. Nominate one or more responsible person(s) to ensure the supervision and safety of staff while at the function
  11. Have a plan in place for what to do when an employee is inebriated and is asked to leave the venue. Similarly, have a plan in place for what to do when an employee refuses to leave
  12. Ensure that staff have safe transportation options to get home from the function
  13. Set a clear and defined “end time” for the event and make it known to employees that any continuation of the function is not work-related.

This article has been prepared for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice regarding your specific circumstances, please contact WR Law directly on (03) 5499 6131 or by email at admin@wrlaw.com.au

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