Christmas is-a-comin' - and we all like to throw a good staff
party. All too often, however, businesses just don't understand the risks
and liabilities they themselves run if sexual harassment occurs at a work
function. The basic tips below should help to clear things up - and give
some practical ideas to follow. Of course - you can always contact
me - although I may need an invite to the party ... just to
make sure you're doing everything properly :-)
1. Get everyone home safe!
If you have had to
send people home because they are drunk, or the night is just winding up -
make sure there are enough transport options to get everyone home.
2. You're not the
'Fun Police' - but employees should be aware this is a work function
Christmas party, make sure all your employees are informed of the
appropriate standard of behaviour expected of them. If you don't have
Policies and Procedures in place to define those behaviours, maybe NOW is a
good time to get drafting. Any such policies should cover things like the
responsible intake of alcohol at work functions.
3. Managers, in particular, need to be
relied-upon as 'champions' of your Policies
While it’s a
celebration for your managers as much as it is for the rest of your team,
it’s worthwhile reminding your managers to act in a professional capacity
during the evening and help to supervise the event. Managers and
supervisors need to be trained to understand their responsibilities and
obligations and can prepare themselves to deal with any issues that
4. Understand exactly what harassment
include if someone does any of the following:
someone to unwanted physical contact or gestures;
intrusive questions, or subjects someone to insinuations about their
jokes or insinuations of a sexual nature;
someone to sex-based insults or taunts;
or repeatedly asks someone to go out with him or her;
or implicitly demands to engage in sexual activity with someone;
offensive communication of a sexual nature by means of a note, letter,
telephone, computer, or by electronic mail or any other means; and,
a person feels offended, humiliated or uncomfortable as a result, sexual
harassment has occurred.
Finally - remember that this is a great time to recognise
the performance of both Managers and Employees. So, make sure you take the
opportunity to pass on some Christmas cheer.