It’s been a difficult year. Again. And just when we’re starting to get into some post-lockdown relaxation, another variety of Covid turns up.

So what’s your work Christmas party looking like this year? A masked ball? An all-out, let-your-hair-down rave that goes viral? No matter what form it takes, “a difficult year” will be no excuse when it comes to repercussions in the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court if things get really out of hand.

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That’s why Newsroom has asked Bell Gully senior associate Rosemary Wooders to spell out what’s acceptable this season, what crosses the line, and what to do (and what not to do) if you want to look your colleagues in the face in January.

She tells Emile Donovan pre-planning is the key – that includes things such as not falling into the “tiny canapes” trap.

Bell Gully senior associate Rosemary Wooders. Photo: Supplied

“It’s absolutely critical to make sure that you have enough food available at the function,” she says. “And I would also remind employees as well that they do have obligations …. they should behave in accordance with reasonable workplace behaviours even when they’re at a workplace function.”

Wooders covers your obligations as the boss, and how to stop it all going badly wrong. She also tells us her Christmas Party Golden Rule. There’s also a Yule Tide tale involving Santa, a beer bottle opener, and an unpleasant aftermath for him that wasn’t so funny when everyone sobered up.

Bell Gully is a foundation partner of Newsroom

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