Should you set out any rules for conduct at the party?

It is a good idea to remind employees of their obligations while at the same time encouraging them to have a good time.  Remind your team that it is still a work function, which still requires them to behave according to policies and procedures on drugs, inappropriate language and violence, as well as requiring responsible alcohol consumption.  It is a good idea to write a letter to all employees to advise them of this.

Don’t enable Binge Drinking

It is no coincidence that more problems can arise when there is an open bar.  You may wish to limit the bar tab or ask staff to contribute to their own drinks to encourage people to think about their alcohol consumption.  You may wish to designate some ‘sober staff’ to monitor staff conduct to help get people home and keep an eye on things.

What is your obligation for getting staff home from the function?

There is no general obligation, however you should take steps to minimize the risk of injury.  It is recommended to advise of ways to get home from the party. Ask staff to contact HR beforehand if they require assistance getting home, so that any arrangements can be made prior to the event.

Will we be liable for harassment that occurs at a work Christmas Party?

Yes. It is a work party and normal rules apply, just like at the office.

Can you hold a Christmas Party if some employees belong to non-Christmas religions?

These days, a Christmas party does not always mean that you are celebrating the Christmas religion, but can be more of an event to thank employees for their work during the year and to improve staff morale.  Some things you can consider is:

  • Consider where you are holding the event. Muslim religion prohibits alcohol, so holding the party at the pub may not be a good idea.
  • Some religions do not celebrate Christmas, so maybe call it an ‘End of Year’ party instead of Christmas party.

Consider the venue, the type of food and drinks you are serving.  You may even want to have a lunch time event to better suit employees with family or carer’s responsibilities.