Christmas is a time for good food and good times. There’s lots of parties and the weather is warming up – it’s a great time of year! But as an employer it can turn into your worst nightmare, if you are not prepared. If you’re having a Christmas function for your employees this year, make sure you tick all the following boxes: – Remind your employees it’s a work function they’re attending, and therefore appropriate work behaviour is required at all times. You may also consider developing (if you do not already have one) a policy on the use of images of the event and comments on social media. Bullying and sexual harassment claims can arise from the use of social media, so ensure staff are aware of the policies and the consequences for breaches. Make sure you keep records of this education process; – If you are providing alcohol, ensure plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages are available for consumption. Have at least one or two senior staff members (more may be required, depending on the size of your organisation/function) who agree to not drink throughout the event to keep an eye on proceedings. It is important that under-age employees are not given or allowed access to alcohol; – Have a firm end time for the Christmas function and make employees aware of it. Make sure employees are aware that any ‘after party’ events or celebrations that occur after the official function’s end time are in the employee’s own time and not endorsed by the company/employer; – Ensure staff can travel home safely. Injuries or incidents that occur on the way home may create workers compensation claims. Access to taxis and public transport is a good thing to keep in mind when finding a location for the Christmas function; – Review your employer insurance policies to ensure an event such as you are planning is covered. If you are unsure about whether you’re covering all the bases for your Christmas function, contact your lawyer or the safe work authority in your state. Stay safe this Christmas season – merry Christmas from the Dohrmann Consulting team!