With Christmas and end of year parties commencing, it is time to remind employees about their obligations concerning sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying and the expectations of them as to their behaviour at social functions.
Employers liable for acts of employees
End of year functions should be a time for employees to celebrate the end of the year and relax with work colleagues but employers need to be aware of potential liability and take steps to ensure that employees act appropriately and so avoid liability for both the employee personally, and for the employer under the laws of vicarious liability. Liability can arise whether or not the function is at the workplace or outside work hours.
The most common complaint at this time of year is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome and/or uninvited behaviour that is of a sexual nature, which results in a person feeling offended, humiliated, frightened or intimidated. Sexual harassment may consist of:
What to do Those employers who do not have policies in place should put them in place now. Those with policies should circulate the policies or remind employees that they should visit the intranet site and refamiliarise themselves with the policies now. Tips for workplace functions: