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‘Tis the season to be cautious

xmas-email3

Work Christmas party season is here!

The festive period often experiences a higher incidence of violence because of a number of interrelated factors.  Remember to reinforce White Ribbon messaging, distribute referral postcards around the office and offer greater support during this period.

Below are steps to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment at work Christmas parties, so everyone can enjoy a safe and respectful festive season.

As an employer it’s important to make sure that your expectations are clear. Most importantly, remind employees that your Code of Conduct and other related policies apply at out of hours functions.

Plan ahead, take precautions and be prepared for anything.  Our message is not about taking the fun out of Christmas!

Here are some further tips*:

  • Remember you have a duty of care to your employees at any work related event.
  • Outline the start and finish times for the function and be sure to remind staff that the Code of Conduct applies at the Christmas party to confirm that misbehaviour won’t be tolerated. Sexual harassment rules apply at the party just as much as in the office.
  • Do not rely solely on a venue’s undertaking to adhere to responsible service of alcohol requirements.
  • Have strategies in place for monitoring employee behaviour at work functions, including what immediate action may be taken to respond to unsafe or unacceptable conduct (e.g. call a taxi and/or direct an employee to leave).
  • If someone is organising the giving of Secret Santa or Kris Kringle presents, remind staff that the gifts should not be offensive and should be appropriate. It’s a good idea to set a $ limit as a guide.
  • Remind staff of appropriate use of social media.
  • Don’t dismiss any post-party complaints or issues. Any complaint needs to be dealt with quickly and effectively in line with your company’s grievance procedure and other workplace policies.

Follow the link to for more information to stop violence against women at Christmas work functions.

*Written by David Davies at Sparke Helmore Lawyers, originally posted on Mondaq in 2014.

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