The Christmas “Silly Season” Is Nearly Here

Friends enjoy a drink togetherChristmas time is just around the corner and this gives organisations the perfect opportunity to reflect on their hard work and achievements for the year with their employees and clients in a relaxed atmosphere – the annual Christmas Party.  However be aware, Christmas parties have the potential to create many problems such as alcohol related injuries and misconduct cases.  Inappropriate behaviour at work events not only reflects badly on an organisations reputation but can leave them open to serious claims including sexual harassment.

Employers have the obligation to ensure the safety and welfare of their staff while at work and need to be aware of their responsibilities when serving alcohol to staff.  This obligation extends to corporate Christmas celebrations regardless of whether the function is held on work premises.

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland has developed some great tips for employers to ensure a safe and successful Christmas season that includes:

  • Reminding staff about workplace policies in particular bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination,
  • Serving alcohol responsibly,
  • Providing food and non-alcoholic drinks,
  • Ensuring underage staff are not served alcohol,
  • Choosing a safe venue with access to public transport, provide cab vouchers and encourage nominated ‘non-drinking’ drivers,
  • Ensuring wait staff are briefed on limiting or denying alcohol to intoxicated staff,
  • Making it clear to staff that the employer’s responsibility ceases at the end of the function and if staff choose to continue the evening, that they are responsible for their own safety, and
  • Having Managers set the example by drinking responsibly.