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The Christmas season is upon us and employers should be aware about issues which may surround workplace functions. Employers should have processes in place to protect the company and provide directions to employees about expected behaviour.

Advising staff of expected behaviour

In order to prevent any unexpected behaviour, employers should ensure that staff know prior to attending any work-related social events of their expected conduct and behaviour. Employers should take the necessary steps to advise all staff of company policies which manage acceptable behaviour, social media and harassment. These core policies are important, especially when work-related parties generally involve the consumption of alcohol.

Employers should clearly communicate to employees in writing about expected behaviour. This will ensure employees do not compromise themselves, or your business, particularly if they are attending client functions.

Some recommendations to manage risk include:

  • Plan, by having plenty of food and a range of non-alcoholic drinks
  • Set a bar-tab 
  • Set start and finish times
  • Advise staff of transport options

Designated responsible managers

To protect employees from excessive drinking, employers should designate a manager or two depending on the size of the company to act in a monitoring capacity. A manager who acts in this capacity should advise staff to move on if they are excessively drinking or being inappropriate. Further, such a manager should have the capacity to give a cab charge to any effected staff member to make sure they leave and arrive home safely. Furthermore, if it is a large function then it is recommended that security personnel be hired to monitor staff who are unreasonably intoxicated.

Ultimately, clear and open communication with all employees is key, to ensure all staff have a successful work function.

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