Whilst it’s generally accepted that alcohol can lower a person’s inhibitions and help make us less self-conscious, it can also see personal opinions (that are usually kept to oneself in the office) find their way into a conversation after a few drinks. Whether it be related to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender, given the vastly modern diversified workforce, seemingly innocuous comments can at best, be misunderstood or misinterpreted, all the way to being inflamed and discriminatory.

Maintaining updated workplace policies and procedures (‘P&Ps’) is always a good idea, but there’s no better time to review (or implement them) just before the celebration season starts. As the old adage goes, “prevention is better than cure”.

This means that your business should:

  • Have a clear stance on what behaviour the business considers to be unacceptable behaviour. As an example, the business’ stance can be stated in the following common P&Ps, including but not limited to the:
    • Discrimination policy;
    • Code of conduct;
    • Drug and alcohol policy;
    • Social media policy;
    • Sexual harassment and bullying policy; and/or
    • Workplace investigation and serious misconduct policy.
  • Communicate the above policies, and ensure that adequate and meaningful training has been delivered, acknowledged and accepted by all employees.

Setting clear expectations and communicating the business’s standards in an unambiguous and explicit manner will get the team on the same page in preparing for the Christmas season.

Daniel Le