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Is Friday drinks a good idea?

26 May 2017

Hi Harry, My staff have asked me to put on the regular Friday night drinks, is that a good idea?

Hello Bernie,

While the after work drinks and a bowl of twisties on Friday night or the office Christmas party might seem like a good idea for building team morale or creating greater work cohesion there are some risks to be noted that could impact on you or the staff in attendance. .

A recent Fair Work Commission decision in which a worker was unfairly sacked may spell the end of the Friday night soiree or result in the work Christmas party becoming an alcohol-free zone after a worker was cleared of sexual harassment and telling his bosses to “f— off” after he was served unlimited drinks.

Leading employer groups have warned businesses of the new risks they face in serving alcohol to employees and that the commission decision highlighted the need for companies to minimise risks at Christmas parties and other out-of-hours work functions. This includes restricting the amount of alcohol served, keeping to a set time for the event, and considering how employees will get home safely among other responsibilities.

It may of be of some surprise that employees also have responsibility to behave appropriately at work functions, so the commissions decision is of concern in this area as it appears to abrogate employees from the need of taking responsibility for their actions. The Fair Work Commission has found that employers may not be in a position to insist on standards of conduct at functions if they serve unlimited amounts of free alcohol.

So Bernie, my advice in the future would be to play it safe. Limit the alcohol consumption to 2 warm stubbies of Carlton Light, or two warm glasses of Blue Nunn. No one will want to drink that crap anyway and everyone will go home early with no harm done. It will also save you some money. A win win.

Hope this helps.

Until next time.

Harry

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