Your office Christmas or year-end function is a great opportunity to impress and speak to those hard to reach people who could aid your developing career.

However too much alcohol being available can lead to more than just an embarrassing breakdance or a twerk or two, it could easily lead to inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Employees are generally less careful when it comes to their conduct at office social events compared to during regular working hours, especially when alcohol is added to the festivities.

Employers have a duty to their employees to prevent harassment from occurring. Employers also have a duty to prevent any foreseeable risks to their employees.

Holiday parties, whether onsite or off-site, should be treated as extensions of the workplace.

Prevention is better than cure
Every year countless sexual harassment complaints are filed based on behaviour that occurs during the annual holiday party. As the holiday season approaches, employers need to try to avoid these incidents at all costs. Here are some tips to help:
• Re-publish the company’s sexual harassment policy before the holiday parties take place
Remind employees that holiday festivities do not offer an excuse for violating company policy. If your company does not have a written sexual harassment policy, this would be a good time to implement one.

• Re-publish the company’s code of conduct
Insist that employers read through and understand what is required of them, and what types of behaviour will not be tolerated.

• Choose responsible members of management to be chaperones
These individuals will be able to monitor the party situation and call attention to anyone behaving inappropriately.

• Monitor alcohol consumption
This is the key to most office party bad behaviour. Most companies are choosing to forgo alcohol at office parties all together to ensure a safe environment for all.