Take steps to ensure acceptable conduct at work-related social events

Key points

  • Employers should be aware that they can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees at office parties and other work-related social events, if those actions are deemed to have been committed in the course of employment. The most likely claims to arise are harassment claims.
  • An employer will have a defence to such a claim if it can show that it took such steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the employee doing the act. Having a policy providing clear written guidelines on required standards of behaviour will assist with any reasonable steps defence.

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