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How to ensure acceptable conduct at office parties and other work-related social events

Author: Claire Birkinshaw


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  • Be aware that employers can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees at office parties, if those actions are deemed to have been committed in the course of employment.
  • Distinguish between those social events where there will probably be vicarious liability and social events that are unlikely to result in vicarious liability.
  • In advance of office parties, take all reasonable steps to prevent employees from carrying out particular acts.
  • Provide a clear policy on the standards of behaviour expected at office parties and what kinds of behaviour are unacceptable.
  • At the office party itself, put two or three managers in charge of monitoring the activities of staff and their intake of alcohol.
  • Take steps to protect employees from third party harassment.