Ho Ho Oh No! Insurance tips for the festive season

As the end of year approaches, it is common for end of year celebrations to be held at offices and external locations. However, employers can be left with quite the headache if things go awry. It is the time of year where there can be heightened risks associated with employee behaviour, reinforcing the importance of businesses undertaking risk management assessments and reviewing their internal procedures.

Due to the connection between the workplace and their functions, employers may be held vicariously liable for the actions of employees. This liability may exist even if the function is held outside of the workplace and normal work hours.

Preparation is key and the following steps may be taken by employers to ensure that the annual end of year celebration is a safe and fun event for all:

  • Have clear and compliant policies in relation to bullying, sexual harassment and consumption of alcohol.

  • Ensure that company policies are up to date and clearly communicated to employees.

  • Remind staff of the standards of behaviour expected from them when attending work events. An all-office memo prior to the event (with links to relevant policies) is a friendly way to provide the same information to all.

  • Emphasise that actions prohibited within the workplace will likewise not be tolerated at corporate functions and breaches of policies may result in disciplinary action.

  • Ensure that the selected function venue has a system for responsible service of alcohol.

  • Provide clear ‘start’ and ‘finish’ times.

  • Provide employees with information regarding available transport options, to help ensure that they arrive at and depart from the event safely.

  • Check your own liability policies and those of the venue provide adequate protection.

  • Review contractual terms and conditions of the venue.

The end of calendar year is a time to celebrate the success of the year and to offer respite to employees. Do not let potential legal matters spoil the fun. To discuss Public Liability or Management Liability policy coverage, please contact a Bellrock Advisor via the form below.

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