In keeping with her growing reputation as Employer of Choice for Work Christmas Parties, Maree nailed it again last week with another ripper staff End of Year celebration!  A mini-bus picked us up at the office and off we all tootled for a…Wine Tour!  Yes!!  Imagine, 8 women and 1 bloke and a lot of wine…this should be interesting!


Starting at Oakdene on The Bellarine, Victoria, we had the option of 17 wines!  At 11am!  Now, where to start?  Fizz?  Chard?  Sav?  My favourite?  Rose.  Very chic.  And so began a very potentially sloshy day with 4 venues all up, tasting around 40 wines with a glass or two thrown in with lunch…including Scotchman’s Hill, Terindah Estate and finishing off at Flying Brick where cider was also an option.


The potential for a ‘career limiting move’ on our Wine Tour was tremendous.  Interestingly, I was listening to the ABC the other day and would you believe it, as if they knew what I was going to write about, the big discussion was on this very topic.  Bad behaviour at the end of year staff party and more particularly what are the legal ramifications and obligations for employers and employees if something goes awry.  Most often, alcohol seems to be the common thread in instances where employees fall foul of the company Code of Conduct.  That’s if the company has a Code of Conduct, of course!  And from a business risk point of view this is advisable according to the legal eagle SME on the radio.  Employers have an obligation or duty of care to ensure that their employees are safe.  At work functions, for example, the supply of an excessive amount of alcohol (particularly without food) might be considered to be detrimental to those attending the official work function and the employer will be liable should people become significantly inebriated and an incident takes place.  Another concern is if there are staff members under 18 who are drinking at a staff function – this will not be looked upon kindly by the powers that be.  A warning then to employers to be very careful what kind of staff party you organise.  It is advised to have a clearly communicated (in writing) start and finish time of the function so that should people ‘kick on’ they are there of their own volition and the company is not liable.

Many serious situations have had their genesis at a work Christmas Party, from physical injuries to fights, sexual misconduct and more.  Everyone attending such events at every level of the organisation, and particularly senior management who are role models need to bring their best behaviour.  We don’t want you to regret anything and the best way to avoid an embarrassing experience or worse is to make a decision before you rock up to limit your intake of alcohol (even if the boss is paying), drink lots of water, make sure you have a full stomach before you start drinking and plan to leave before things get out of hand.  If you have to kick on, the best option is to go somewhere safe.

The work Christmas Party is not the place to let your hair down!  Stay in work mode and have a great time, and do what the Harvest team did and that is to pace yourself, know your limits, keep the water up and focus on great conversations and leave with a wonderful memory of celebrating another great year.


Written by Meredith Telfer, Careers Specialist

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