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Shots, shots, shots...

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

2020 is on its way out! (we can’t believe it either and to be honest, we can’t wait to wish this year goodbye)

The end of the year means Sundowners, Christmas parties, and client events galore!

And with all the fun and excitement, comes some pretty serious risks to your business!

Did you know that Fair Work hold employees to different standard of behaviour if alcohol is served by employers?

If your employees misbehave at a party (or afterwards), and you terminate them, you might find yourself liable for unfair dismissal fines because you didn’t control the service of alcohol…

A prime example: A Team Leader who abused and sexually harassed his colleagues whilst drunk won his unfair dismissal case due to his employer’s irresponsible service of alcohol.

Unfair dismissal is not the only risk. Think about the damage to your brand when things go wrong in public (work parties can be a recipe for disaster).

So, before alcohol gets involved in your next event, have a think about the following:

Do your staff understand expectations about behaviour at events?

Do you understand your WorkSafe Duty of Care obligations?

Can you keep your workers safe without being the ‘fun police’?

If you don’t have all of the answers to these questions right now, never fear! Whilst we recommend you work on getting the answers to the above, here are a few tips to get you through the silly season in the meantime:

  • Have a discussion with your employees about company culture before the events take place. If you have an Alcohol Policy, remind everyone of its contents.

  • Make sure there is sufficient food available at the event and take care to ensure the “eating is cheating” types still get some food in their belly!

  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and don’t make people feel bad for drinking them.

  • If it is possible, pay for your employee’s trip home to discourage any form of drink driving.

  • Keep a lookout for dodgy behaviour (both from your employees and others).

  • If there happens to be a complaint, take it seriously and follow the correct procedures.

  • Check out your insurances to ensure you have appropriate coverage.

  • Remember, whilst this time of the year can be quite stressful with the potential increase in legal risks, it’s also a time to have fun and enjoy yourself!

*Whilst we always aim provide you the highest quality, most up-to-date advice on Human Resources matters, we are not legal professionals; you must not rely on the information in this communication as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. By accepting this advice, you agree to indemnify us against any loss of damage arising directly or indirectly from undertaking any processes and procedures as implemented by Itch Recruitment Pty Ltd incorrectly, or as advised.


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