It’s the festive season and I think the title says it all for the employee, however what are the implications for the employer and/or manager? Lots, in this day and age where you can be sued for looking at a person the wrong way where does the liability of an employer cease on the day of the work Xmas party or break up?
Certainly there is a duty of care to ensure all staff are safe (standard OH&S policies) however does that cease at the end of the party? Simple answer is NO. Employers and managers have a duty of care to ensure that their staff make it home to their family safe. I think this is straight forward logic, however it gets tricky when you consider alcohol and safety.
Do you only have a duty of care to get staff home safely after a party where alcohol is served or also after normal work days? I haven’t seen much about this, however I am sure there is some form of negligence law to cover the normal work day. How does an employer/manager carry out their duty of care after the work Xmas party? Is a simple cab charge to get home sufficient? It’s a start but is it enough? With my employee hat on, I think yes. I am willing to take responsibilty for my own safety if I have been provided with a cab charge even if I am under the influence of social lubricant.
As a manager of staff over a number of years, I have been concerned when staff go all out to consume as much alcohol as possible and clearly would have trouble getting into a taxi and then getting out at the other end. Should the company be liable what happens to that employee once you have seen them off into the taxi? Not really sure, I think not, but then I think we the employer/manager have provided that alcohol for that employee to be drunk, so maybe its a yes.
When will liability end? Being naieve to the issue will only end up a costly mistake for the company and the employee.