Ahead of Christmas Party Season, here’s sound sound advice to take on board.

Now more than ever, we’re all keen to get out and party but don’t make your Christmas Party a Career Limiting Move (for anyone)!

Heading to the wineries, and so begins a very potentially sloshy day with  tastings at each venue and a glass or two thrown in with lunch … by 11am you’ve sampled Chardy, Sav, Rose and a glass or two thrown in with lunch. You reach for the phone and the selfies begin popping up on newsfeeds and not everyone is happy about it.

The potential for a  ‘career limiting move’ on such a celebration is tremendous.

Bad behaviour at the end of year staff party is always a possibility and there can be 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 the legal folk.

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. Share an Uber ride home or arrange for someone to pick you up.  If you have to kick on, the best option is to go somewhere safe.

If you are concerned about behaviour at your Christmas Party, send out an email pre-event clearly establishing boundaries and don’t forget social media policies. It also goes without saying, make sure you adhere to any COVID restrictions that may be in place at the time.

The work Christmas Party is not the place to let your hair down!  Stay in work mode and have a great time, and 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.

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