Posted on 02 Dec. 2016
Be good or yule be sorry at your Christmas party
By Slater and Gordon
With the party season in full swing, we’ve compiled a Work Christmas Party Checklist to remind employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities when attending end of year office celebrations. Despite the well-known saying, employees should not count on what happens at the annual work Christmas party to stay at the party.
Slater and Gordon’s Work Christmas Party Checklist
- Employees should treat the end-of-year party like any other day at work and behave accordingly.
- Even if the function is unplanned or spontaneous, it can still be considered in the course of employment.
- Being drunk is no excuse for an employee’s actions or comments.
- However, employers have a number of obligations, including:
- Responsible service of alcohol;
- Provide food and non-alcoholic drinks; and
- Provide options for employees to get home after the festivities;
- It’s also a good idea for employers to ensure the relevant workplace policies are up to date and communicated to employees ahead of the party, including:
- Workplace health and safety rules;
- Anti-discrimination policy;
- Sexual harassment policy;
- Social media guidelines.
- Employees should pause before they post any content from the end-of-year function on social media.
- Nothing is private on the internet, so posting inappropriate photos or comments about your work could be a breach of your employment contract.
- Maximum privacy settings have been proven not to protect employees in court, especially if they have co-workers as friends.
- The absence of a workplace social media policy will not save you: the courts view online posts as a public comment, which doesn’t require a specific policy to be taken into account.
- Even if a co-worker posts the content, there have been cases where an employee is held responsible even though they were not the original author.
We hope that with this checklist you make it a December to remember for all the right reasons. We wish you a safe Christmas.
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