Christmas: Responsible Drinking At Work

Just what is an acceptable amount to drink at work?

With all the festivities coming up it is perhaps an ideal time to review your policies around consuming alcohol at work or a work related event. Ensure it sets out clear expectations and obligations for employees and clearly states the consequences of non-compliance.

Responsible drinking at work over the Christmas period

It can be challenging for employers to negotiate fine the line between allowing staff to let their hair down and enforcing a standard of acceptable conduct. Recent case law shows that it’s not just employees that may suffer from the negative consequences for drunk and disorderly conduct. Employer policies, practices and procedures are likely to be scrutinised if action is taken against an employee for being under the influence and can be costly.

Tips to consider in relation to alcohol at work

Most employers are aware that well-drafted policies are the bedrock of a successful strategy for addressing alcohol consumption at work. In addition to ensuring that employees acknowledge and understand your policies and procedures, you should also consider:

  • Providing regular, friendly reminders to staff about the standard of behaviour you expect them to live up to, especially in festive periods such as spring carnival and Christmas time;
  • Not simply leaving the responsible service of alcohol at work functions to the venue’s hosts;
  • Reviewing your drug and alcohol policy to check there are no unnecessary restrictions on the company’s discretion, should disciplinary action become necessary.

Cheers!

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