In order to protect the organisation from what could turn out to be a large compensation claim, certain preventative steps should be taken in order to ensure that the employer has discharged their responsibility for any possible acts. It is essential that management brief staff on their expected behaviour at any work-related social event.
Below is a list of precautions which should be taken:
Below is a sample memo, which could be distributed to staff prior to a work-related social event…
- Raise awareness of the organisation's policies regarding Dignity at Work, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. All employees should have received a copy of this Policy, and should have returned a signed acknowledgement stating that they have read and understood the Policy;
- Ensure that staff are aware of what types of conduct constitute harassment, sexual harassment and bullying;
- Remind employees of the company Disciplinary Procedure, and ensure that employees are aware that they may be subject to disciplinary action for unacceptable behaviour at work-related social events. Again, all employees should have received a copy of this Procedure, and returned a signed acknowledgement stating that they have read and understood it;
- Notify all staff in advance of the party that alcohol consumption at any event should be moderate.
- Take care that any entertainment provided is suitable for a work-related event, and does not provide a forum for harassment, sexual harassment or bullying;
- Managers need to know how to deal with a situation where an employee's conduct threatens to get out of hand;
- Encourage staff to make arrangements for getting home safely, or provide transport for the end of the night. Give appropriate warnings about drink-driving;
- In choosing the venue for the event, the employer must take care to fulfill their health and safety obligations to employees, and ensure that the venue is suitable for such an event and can cater for any employees with a disability.
This year's Christmas party is almost upon us, and in order to ensure that the event is enjoyable for all attendees, the board of management would like to take this opportunity to issue a few reminders to staff to ensure that the night runs smoothly, safely and enjoyably for everyone.
We would like to point out that this event is organised as a work-related social event, and as such, the policies and procedures which govern your employment also apply to your conduct at the Christmas party. In essence, this means that the policies and procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook will apply.
In particular we would like to draw your attention to the following policies. It is important that you make yourself aware of what are appropriate and inappropriate behaviours in this organisation:
We also expect employees to act in a responsible manner with regard to alcohol consumption.
- Dignity at Work Policy (incorporating definitions of harassment, sexual harassment and bullying);
- Disciplinary Procedure.
It is important to us that, at the end of the night, you continue to be safe, therefore we advise that employees consider using public transport or taxis in order to make their way home.
Otherwise, all that remains for me to do is to wish each and every employee a safe, peaceful and happy Christmas. We look forward to seeing you at the party!