Prudent employers can reduce the risks by taking reasonable steps to prevent misconduct or injury and make the function a safe place to have fun.

‘Tis the season to be merry, and many employers and employees are looking forward to celebrating the season with colleagues at staff parties.  

However, employers need to be mindful that inappropriate behaviour at work functions can impact on the organisation’s reputation and leave them open to serious legal claims, including sexual harassment, workplace health and safety, workers compensation or personal injury claims.  

Prudent employers can reduce the risks by taking reasonable steps to prevent misconduct or injury and make the function a safe place to have fun.  

Christmas Party Checklist

  • Ensure that your workplace health and safety, bullying, harassment and anti-discrimination policies and codes of conduct are up-to-date. Remind employees that the policies apply at social functions and that there are disciplinary consequences if required standards of behaviour are not met.
  • Give employees information about the transport options to get home from the event. Encourage staff who are not sure how to get home to discuss this with you before the event. Consider providing a mini-bus or cab-charge vouchers, particularly to employees who have been drinking.
  • Tell staff when the function will end and make sure it ends at that time.
  • If alcohol is available at the event, ensure it is served responsibly and that food and non-alcoholic drinks are readily available. Remind employees that they are expected to consume alcohol responsibly.
  • Ensure appropriate people are appointed and are able to intervene if they spot bad behaviour. Managers should set an example of appropriate conduct.
  • If inappropriate behaviour is reported, investigate and follow up on it promptly.