Legal tips: How to host a low risk work Christmas party

Christmas is not only the time to celebrate another year with family and friends, but for an employer it is also a time to celebrate with your workforce. Aitken Legal’s Chris Campbell shares his top five tips on how to ensure your Christmas party is a success.

1 Set your expectations beforehand – have current workplace policies that outline your expectations in terms of employee behaviour (including at work functions).

2 Communicate your expectations beforehand – ensure that employees have access to the workplace policies, including any complaints or grievance procedure, and have received recent training on those policies.

3 WHS obligations – assess the location, venue and activities for the Christmas party. Identify potential hazards and assess the risk of an incident occurring. Implement practical measures to reduce the risk of an incident, such as ensuring that there will be adequate food, non-alcoholic beverages and arrangements for travel after the event (where alcohol is being consumed).

Chris Campbell, Aitken Legal, gives his Christmas party tips. Picture: Paula Brennan
Chris Campbell, Aitken Legal, gives his Christmas party tips. Picture: Paula Brennan

4 Send a reminder – prior to the function, remind employees about your behavioural expectations. They should understand that workplace policies apply to the work function and that disciplinary action will be taken if policies are breached. Remind employees to drink responsibly and set out the arrangements for the function, including a finishing time. Employee’s should be informed that after this time, they will need to leave the venue if they wish to continue partying. They should also be reminded not to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

5 Monitor and address behaviour - have senior employees oversee alcohol consumption and employee behaviour. Address unacceptable behaviour at the time. Ensure complaints are handled in accordance with normal disciplinary procedures.

Aitken Legal is a special employment law firm, based in Birtinya.


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