As the end of the year approaches, the silly season is well and truly in full swing and this means a few things – holidays, sun, festive cheer and of course, parties.
Work parties are a terrific way to interact, and to celebrate and reward your employees for their hard work throughout the year. However, of late, there have been some interesting cases in the media surrounding incidents at work related events. Therefore, when organising your work function, it is important to keep a few things in mind and be prepared for any scenario. Below are some steps to consider to help protect you and your employees.
Ensure you have appropriate policies in place around bullying, harassment, handling grievances and ensure your managers and employees are aware of them.
Provide all employees with a clear Code of Conduct, outlining exactly what is expected from them, including any disciplinary action should these standards not be met.
Make it clear that policies and the Code of Conduct apply to behaviour at work functions and/or third party events where employees may be representing the company.
Prior to any work function, ensure employees are aware the Code of Conduct should be adhered to at all times. This can be done through a simple email or memo.
You have a duty of care to all employees, and this includes work functions. Always supply food and inform the venue that responsible service of alcohol must be enforced and/or monitor the consumption yourself and limit accordingly. You could also consider other activities and limit the time alcohol is available. You could also ask managers to keep an eye on conduct and the level of alcohol being consumed and be ready to step in and stop any issues before they arise.
Employers are not required to pay for taxis home. However, this does help to make sure all employees are safe. Another alternative is to encourage a buddy system, whereby people who live close to each other can share the journey home.
If a complaint is made, take it seriously and ensure you follow your grievance procedure and investigate the issue before making any decisions on an appropriate outcome.
To help smooth over any situation, and in the interest of maintaining workplace relationships, where applicable, you might recommend a meeting with all employees involved in the incident in order to work towards a satisfactory outcome. Check whether your grievance handling procedure sets out an informal resolution procedure.
Employsure is on hand to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your responsibilities and requirements this festive season. As Australia’s leading specialist in employment relations and work health and safety, we will ensure your workplace is fair and safe by advising employers on policies, procedures as well as any current employment related matter you may be experiencing. Call us today on 1300 651 415.