When it comes to planning your Christmas work party, it is essential to take all practical steps to prevent any situation where inappropriate conduct can occur. Being a work-related function, you are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the guests in attendance. You can be held liable if a workplace claim arises from any inappropriate conduct occurring such as sexual harassment, drug use or derogatory comments.
Before the big night consider the following:
Email your staff
Communicate to your staff via an internal email that this is a professional work-related event. If alcohol is being provided, you must clearly identify to employees their health and safety responsibilities in relation to consumption. Remind your staff of their obligation to uphold your business’ code of conduct and that standard disciplinary procedures will apply to those individuals who breach the code. Give them clear examples of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour during the celebrations.
Ensure the venue safety
When choosing where you will host your Christmas party, you must make sure the venue has an adequate hazard management system which implements
policies and evacuation plans. For instance, the venue must ensure safe service of alcohol and have clear exit signage in case of an emergency. Discuss with the venue provider about their relevant policies before purchasing the venue.
Nominate a supervisor
Whether it is you or a senior staff member, there should be a supervisor monitoring your employees during the party. In this way, the individual can identify and resolve any risks before they have the chance to escalate, such as restricting alcohol to an overly intoxicated employee and sending them home for the night.
Consider after-party risks
If you are supplying alcohol during the event, your employees may be intoxicated at the end of the night, so it is wise to pre-arrange travel arrangements from the Christmas party to ensure they travel home safely, such as a minibus or taxi. Make the start and end time of the Christmas party clear to all attendees and clarify that any ‘after-party’ events are not employer-endorsed.