It’s Christmas party season, and with it comes serious risks for workers who have too much to drink and misbehave around colleagues.
Every year, dozens of Australian workers face serious disciplinary action and sometimes even dismissal for inappropriate behaviour during work Christmas functions.
Some recent cases include engineering project coordinator Damien McDaid, who was fired after throwing a fully clothed workmate into a swimming pool at his work Christmas party, and mechanic Jeremy Ryman, who lost his job after unleashing a drunken abusive tirade at his boss during Christmas drinks.
The main danger at work-related parties is alcohol, according to Miles Heffernan from Industrial Relations Claims.
“Unfortunately, the booze is usually always free, so workers are tempted to drink a lot, and when people have too much to drink their guard comes down and they do things they wouldn’t normally do in the office or at the building site,” he said.
Mr Heffernan said the same workplace health and safety and sexual harassment policies that apply at work, also apply during work-related Christmas functions, whether they’re being held on site or at another venue.
“That means if you misbehave, you can be accused of serious misconduct including sexual harassment, and you can be dismissed as a result,” he said.
Mr Heffernan has the following tips for workers this silly season:
- Before the party, remind yourself that you are technically still at work, and that you need to behave in an appropriate manner.
- Don’t drink! – but if you do, watch how much you consume, and remember to drink plenty of water and eat food.
- Do not make fun of another colleague or makes jokes that are personal or sexual in nature, and definitely don’t touch another workmate.
- Do not get angry or abusive towards anyone, especially the boss.
- Have a plan to get home at the end of the function, whether it be a taxi or an Uber or a loved one, and don’t attend after parties.
- If you find yourself losing control, or if you are not having a good time, leave the party and have an early night.
If you have been unfairly dismissed from employment, please call Industrial Relations Claims today on 1300 853 837.