Wendy Jeffery-Lonnie

December 4, 2023

Interestingly a number of companies are coming out and saying they will not be having a Christmas Party this year as the risks are just too high. Others are now saying the Christmas Party is the perfect opportunity to showcase just how well you are meeting your Respect@Work obligations.

If you are having an End-of-Year event there are a few must do’s you should be aware of to ensure a successful function and close to the year. We’ve included these below as a handy checklist:

  • Inform the team in advance of what they can expect leading up to the end of the year in the office and details of the Christmas Party.
  • Review and distribute your company code of conduct.
  • Set behaviour expectations and responsibilities prior to the event reminding staff that as a work-sanctioned event and company rules remain in place.
  • Remind staff of dress requirements
  • Remind everyone that bullying and harassment and workplace health and safety obligations still apply regardless of where the party takes place OR where it ends up.
  • Ensure your managers know their responsibilities to enforce the code of conduct and behaviour expectations, and what they need to do if things look like they are going ‘pear-shaped’. Your managers have additional responsibilities under the Workplace Health & Safety laws which will also be applicable at an end-of-year event.
  • Remind all staff that failing to address issues or incidences that in the normal course of business would be seen as unacceptable could be construed as condoning such behaviour.
  • Encourage staff to advise in advance whether they need assistance to keep their alcohol consumption in check (some medications amplify the effect of alcohol).
  • Provide alcohol-free alternatives are available and check in with staff who have asked for support.
  • Make sure if you are not at a licensed venue that alcohol is served responsibly and that binge drinking and drinking games are avoided.
  • Ensure plenty of food is made available throughout the duration of the event.
  • Have a safe transport plan for employees leaving the venue. Taxi vouchers, reimburse for Uber trips etc.
  • Clarify that for those continuing the festivities to another venue, while not company sanctioned, it could still be considered ‘work-related’ for Harassment and Work, Health and Safety obligations.

If you require HR assistance navigating your end of year function, please contact Wendy Jeffery-Lonnie (GPHR Director) at wendy@gphr.com.au for practical advice and support.

Bullying and harassment and workplace health and safety obligations still apply regardless of where the party takes place OR where it ends up. Be vigilant, know your responsibilities.

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