Year end work functions provide employers and employees with the opportunity to reflect on the year that was and are a great way to reward staff for their efforts and enthusiasm.
However, the ‘silly season’ can often be a cause of headaches for employers as employees can be prone to engaging in inappropriate conduct which may necessitate taking disciplinary action and/or give rise to an assortment of legal claims.
Employer’s Duty of Care
Employers need to remember that such functions are work events (even if held away from the workplace) meaning they owe a duty of care to their employees during these events.
What Does the Duty of Care Require?
This duty requires employers to take all reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of employees during these functions. Reasonable steps may include:
- limiting employees’ consumption of alcohol if it is available, including by limiting alcohol options to beer and wine and/or implementing a ‘last drinks’ cut-off time