Work Christmas Functions - Quick tips to keep them festive

14 November 2019

Christmas Functions are all about celebrating the year that has been and giving your employees a chance to get together and have a bit of fun, however, they have developed a bit of a reputation over the years, most of us will hear a story in the next few weeks of someone celebrating a little too much. As employers it is important to remember that you have responsibilities for your staff members at any work-related Christmas functions, so here are some quick tips.

Employee behaviour can stray into misconduct, particularly where alcohol is involved.  Commonly these are incidents involving two (or more!) employees, such as arguments.  They can escalate into fighting and far more serious incidents involving other people or property.

Employers also have health and safety obligations to their employees and others.  This includes (but is not limited to) a misbehaving employee and any other employees or other people whose safety is compromised by the actions of an employee.

Any of these types of incidents (together with other party-gone-wrong possibilities, such as harassment, violence, damage to property, theft, etc.) are capable of being misconduct.  But with most things in life prevention is better than cure so what can you do to prevent problems arising at your Christmas party?

  • Send a reminder to employees in advance, including any relevant policies.  Explain the impact of these in clear terms and any expectations as to behaviour.
  • Good host responsibilities (you guys do this everyday so don't skimp when it comes to your staff) – provide food, non-alcoholic drinks, and don’t serve intoxicated persons (limit and control alcohol availability).
  • Encourage collective responsibility, i.e. make employees responsible for their colleagues (particularly in relation to alcohol consumption and behaviour).
  • Prohibit work vehicles being taken to functions unless the driver is a dedicated sober driver.
  • Arrange for transport home.
  • Finally, don’t kill the fun – remind employees it is fun, a celebration, and that drunk employees spoil the party for everyone.

Here's to some fantastic Christmas Functions - enjoy!

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