Inappropriate behaviour at your work functions

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7 ways to avoid inappropriate behaviour at your work functions

by Charles Power Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook

Taking the following steps will help you to reduce the chances that inappropriate behaviour ‚ ¨ and subsequent legal action! ‚ ¨ will occur at your work functions:

  1. Ensure employees understand that the rules for appropriate workplace behaviour also apply at work functions ‚ ¨ consider promoting your code of conduct prior to the function so everyone knows what is expected of them.
  2. Limit employees’ ability to consume excessive amounts of alcohol. You could do this by:
    • not making alcohol the focus of your function;
    • avoiding table service and top-ups to make it easier for employees to keep track of how many drinks they have had;
    • not serving alcohol during speeches and other formalities;
    • providing plenty of free water and other non-alcoholic drinks;
    • limiting drinks to beer and wine and avoiding serving drinks with a high alcohol content; and
    • ensuring there is enough food provided and that all dietary requirements are catered for.
  3. Remind employees that it is their responsibility to drink alcohol responsibly and legally.
  4. Ensure that all employees are aware of the repercussions of excess drinking and of the legal driving limits.
  5. Provide transport or taxi vouchers to ensure employees get to and from the function safely.
  6. Plan for managing intoxicated guests.
  7. Designate an employee to monitor behaviour during the function.

Taking these steps will put you in a better position to defend any harassment or discrimination claim, on the grounds that you took reasonable steps to prevent it from occurring.