WORKPLACE LAWS STILL APPLY DURING FESTIVE SEASON
Written on the 21 November 2013
EMPLOYERS are being reminded about their duty of care to staff at the office Christmas party, to avoid WorkCover costs.
Bennett and Philp Brisbane director Mark O’Connor says workplace laws still apply at company functions or retreats.
“The rules for being a responsible host also apply to employers who organise or pay for an office Christmas party.
“If an employee drinks too much during a work function and is injured as a consequence, the employer could face some unexpected costs,” O’Connor says.
O’Connor says safety is priority, whether you’re celebrating at the office or another venue - especially when alcohol is involved.
“If a drunk employee is injured at an office Christmas party, or even after they have left it, a potential compensation claim by the worker could mean the employer being hit with extra Work Cover premiums, as well as being responsible for the employee’s medical costs,” he says.
“Staff need to realise that when the office party is officially over and they party on to clubs or private parties, the employer is no longer legally responsible for their safety,” he says.
O’Connor recommends implementing some guidelines such as restricting drinks, establishing a formal end time, consider how guests will get home and be mindful of camera phones and social media.
He says although the office Christmas party is great for team morale, there is always a risk for legal action.