Numerous workplace laws, including sexual harassment, OHS and discrimination laws still apply at work organised Christmas functions, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees comply with them.
So before your work Christmas party this year, you should remind your employees of the standard of behaviour you expect.
One way to do this is to send out the following note to all employees:
“The festive season will see our business start celebrating the end of year, through various end of year events. Some of these events will involve clients and partners, as well as you and your colleagues.
It is important to remember that these events are still work related events – which mean you need to make sure you behave appropriately and within the boundaries normally expected at work. Before attending these events, all staff should re-acquaint themselves with our human resources policies, which include topics such as sexual harassment, equal opportunity and occupational health and safety. These policies will continue to apply to you at work related functions and any breach can lead to disciplinary action up to and including the termination of employment. If you are unsure of how these policies apply to you, please contact Human Resources.
Christmas parties are an excellent opportunity to celebrate with clients and colleagues and enjoy the rewards of hard work during the year. They can also be the place that quickly undoes most of the hard work done during the year if staff engage in inappropriate behaviour/consumption of too much alcohol or unsafe work practices.
So as you celebrate, keep in mind your actions and those of your colleagues.”