Get through your Christ­mas party

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - |

It wouldn’t be an of­fice Christ­mas party with­out some­one do­ing some­thing a bit re­gret­table.

But mis­takes can have long-term im­pli­ca­tions and there are a num­ber of cases that have been be­fore the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Author­ity where a Christ­mas party dis­as­ter has con­trib­uted to some­one los­ing their job, or given them cause to lodge a per­sonal griev­ance.

We’ve trawled the records to iden­tify some of the key things you should not do if you want to sur­vive the fes­tive sea­son with your ca­reer in­tact.

Don’t as­sume the per­son who al­ways or­gan­ises the party is happy to do it again

Most work­places have one - the su­per-or­gan­ised per­son who is called upon to take care of ev­ery­thing from leav­ing presents to Mel­bourne Cup sweep­stakes. Make sure they are happy to do so.

One case heard by the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Author­ity re­lated to a woman who suf­fered work­place stress and even­tu­ally felt she was un­jus­ti­fi­ably dis­missed.

She said she felt put-upon when she had to or­gan­ise the staff Christ­mas party.

"[It] was un­fair be­cause it in­volved a lot of work, there was a lack of sup­port from other co­or­di­na­tors and lit­tle recog­ni­tion for [her] ef­fort for what was clearly a suc­cess­ful event."

Keep work­place dis­putes away from the party

Some­one in your of­fice might be driv­ing you up the wall. The party is not the time to tell them.

In one case, a man claimed he was as­sault by his firm’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor. He said he was talk­ing to two peo­ple when the boss told him to go and join an­other group, and gave him a shove that "pro­pelled him across the room". The other par­ties de­nied the shove hap­pened.

In an­other, a party was shut down when a worker took ob­jec­tion to be­ing splashed with wa­ter and ice, and de­cided to dunk the per­son who splashed him in the drinks bucket.

The other man re­sisted and ended up with scraped legs and a shoul­der in­jury.

Stay away from the mistle­toe

Sex­ual ha­rass­ment is still sex­ual ha­rass­ment, even if you are at a party.

In an­other ERA case, a woman cited one ex­am­ple of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour in which her su­per­vi­sor, dressed as Santa, used a bot­tle opener to form a "graphic and prom­i­nent phal­lic sym­bol which he at­tached to his garb".

In many cases, the reper­cus­sions are se­ri­ous for the bosses, too.

Em­ploy­ers can be li­able if they do not take suf­fi­cient pre­cau­tions to pre­vent ha­rass­ment at the party.

Alison Maelzer, of law firm Hes­keth Henry, said whether work­place health and safety laws would ap­ply at the Christ­mas party, giv­ing em­ploy­ers re­spon­si­bil­ity for their staff’s well­be­ing, would de­pend on where the party was held, who paid for it and whether at­ten­dance was com­pul­sory.

In­vite ev­ery­one

One com­pany’s at­tempt to do some­thing for work­ers’ kids back­fired when a staff mem­ber who did not have chil­dren found out about the ad­di­tional kids party.

She over­heard ar­range­ments be­ing made for Rain­bow’s End and even­tu­ally be­came aware of the sec­ond Christ­mas party.

She said she felt dis­crim­i­nated against and threat­ened to sue her em­ployer be­cause she had not been in­vited.

Her per­sonal griev­ance claim was dis­missed by the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Author­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.