With the festive season upon us, it is worth remembering that celebrations in the workplace must be managed properly to ensure the well being of all employees. The duty of care as defined within s.21 of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 requires an employer to provide a safe system of work and “to provide adequate facilities for the welfare of employees at any workplace under the control of management of the employer”.
How does this affect Christmas parties?
An employer may be liable when functions occur at work and the employer encourages or approves the functions or subsidises the costs towards functions held elsewhere. The duty of care may even extend where the employer has approved a separate function. Members of the public may also sue an employer for negligence in the event of actions of an employee.
To ensure the employer limits their liability in relation to a WorkCover, bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment claim, guidelines should be established prior to employees attending any function.
Members seeking further information are encouraged to call the IR Department on 9411 4560 or the OHS Unit on (03) 9411 4569.