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DANGER, DANGER – It’s the Work Christmas Party!

The Work Christmas Party can be a minefield for employers, with increased instances of harassment and bullying claims. Add to this liability for the physical safety and behaviour of alcohol affected employees, and the safety of vulnerable people travelling late at night.

To minimise your risk exposure, the following steps are essential:

First and foremost, make sure you have clear, legally compliant policies in place in relation to sexual harassment, bullying and the consumption of drugs and alcohol, that clarify when the rules apply – both inside and outside of work.

Circulate these policies prior to the event and discuss them with your employees. Make sure everyone is aware of them and understands them, and has signed an acknowledgement to this effect.

Provide clear details about the event, including the venue name, address and phone number, start and finish times, the names of the organisers, and how to advise special dietary requests. Encourage your employees to pre-arrange transport home.

At the event, provide plenty of food, suitable for everyone, including people with dietary restrictions. Make sure water and soft-drink is freely available and don’t allow self-service alcohol. Adhere to Responsible Service of Alcohol guidelines and ensure service is stopped to anyone who has had too much to drink.

Arrange for the organisers to be a point of contact and to monitor and moderate employee behaviour during the event.

Make sure the finish time is adhered to – this is particularly important if the event is held at your workplace and check that your employees have safe transport arranged, if not organise this, especially in the case of employees who are intoxicated or otherwise vulnerable.

If you need assistance with developing and implementing policies around harassment, bullying and consumption of drugs and alcohol, give HR Gurus a call on 1300 959 560 and one of our highly experienced Gurus will be able to help.

Written by resident HR Guru Louise Betts.

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