The year’s end is a perfect time to step back and acknowledge all the effort put in at work and to socialise with colleagues. It can be a great opportunity to bond with your team and have fun. Unfortunately, the work Christmas party can also be fraught with risk, so it’s essential to know what your rights and responsibilities are to ensure the season remains festive. Here are some tips to ensure the work Christmas party stays merry.
It’s important to remember that the office Christmas party is an extension of work. A smart way to think about it is that it’s just another work meeting (that is more fun than most). Although it may be held away from the office, it still constitutes a part of your employment. So, the same rules and regulations apply. The regular code of conduct of your workplace are the rules you should adhere to at the Christmas party. Your employer also must extend the same responsibility to you that they do in the workplace.
Play it safe
Dancing the night away can be fun, but it’s also one of the leading causes of accidents at a work party. If you’re injured at a work party you may be entitled to workers compensation, just as you would in your workplace. It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure the party is held in a safe environment, so if you’re injured you could potentially have a claim.
Keep in mind that things are not always clear cut. For instance, if an employee is intoxicated or behaving in manner that contradicts the code of conduct and they’re injured, they may not be eligible for workers compensation. However, if an employer is aware that a staff member is intoxicated and does nothing to restrict their drinking and subsequently they’re injured, the employer could be held responsible.
It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure there is a responsible service of alcohol and that there is sufficient food for all staff.
What to do if you’re injured
If you’re injured at the party, you should seek medical attention to receive treatment. As soon as you’re able, you need to let your supervisor know what has happened so they’re able to inform the company’s insurer. You will also need to see your doctor so they can assess your capacity to work and give you a medical certificate outlining this. You should also seek the advice of a workers compensation lawyer who can help you navigate the claim process and ensure you receive your maximum entitlements.
Bullying, harassment and discrimination
Just as employees shouldn’t be the subject of bullying, harassment or discrimination in the workplace, these things are certainly not acceptable at a work party. Employers may be held liable for this type of behaviour from staff, and employees may face disciplinary action if they engage in bullying, harassment or discrimination. So, remember that while you may be having fun, you should still remain professional at all times.
Kicking on after the party
While employers should suggest safe strategies for their staff to get home, they are not liable for any injuries that occur once an employee heads home or continues at another venue; although staff may still have protection from discrimination, adverse action, bullying and harassment from colleagues. Plan how you’re going to travel home safely, especially if you will be drinking alcohol. Public transport, taxis or ride shares may be the best way to get home safely.
The next day
After a night of celebrating it may be tempting to pull the covers up and stay in bed, but it’s not a good look to ‘chuck a sickie’ the day after, and could reasonably result in disciplinary action. It can also risk serious repercussions in your career, particularly if you’re already on a performance improvement plan or have poor attendance.
Have fun, but take care
So, when you celebrate the holiday season at work this year, remember to enjoy yourself, but be aware of where you are and what’s expected of you. These tips for your work party will ensure the holidays are merry and bright for you and your colleagues.
Contact Shine Lawyers
If you’ve been injured while out celebrating at your work Christmas party, you may have a claim for workers compensation. A qualified expert can help you to access the compensation you’re entitled to in order to get your life back on track. Shine Lawyers are experts in workers compensation claims and work on a no win, no fee guarantee.
The contents in this blog do not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: January 1, 2020.