Drunkenly hooking up with your boss is just one annual work Christmas party pitfall to be careful of, experts warn.
Sexual harassment, inappropriate comments and violence at work celebrations have cost workers their careers.
Drunkenly hooking up with your boss
Hooking up with your boss or another co-worker at a work function is nothing new, but can be risky.
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said workplace relationships can lead to conflicts of interest.
“If one person supervises the other, the relationship creates a power imbalance,” he said.
“Therefore, many companies will require employees to declare such relationships.”
An article published in Women’s Health reports on five women who describe what happened when they hooked up with their bosses at a work Christmas function.
“I ended up getting really, really drunk and spending the night with my boss. Neither of us had any chemistry or feelings for each other beforehand. It was a drunken mess, and we both woke up the next morning embarrassed. I was scared I’d get fired. My boss was scared I’d tell people. It was so awkward for the first couple of months because I directly report to him and we have meetings once a week—just us.”
Christmas parties cost jobs and careers
Over the years, hundreds of Australian workers have lost their jobs as a result of bad behaviour at the annual work Christmas party.
For example, a Perth engineering company sacked an employee who threw a fully-clothed co-worker into a swimming pool.
The Fair Work Commission heard the worker became intoxicated at the Christmas function, and subsequently acted aggressively towards colleagues.
In another incident, a worker lost his unfair dismissal claim after sexually harassing a colleague at a work Christmas event, despite the incident happening in a hotel room.
Mr Heffernan said the case is a reminder that workplace rules apply during work functions, even those held off-site.
Alcohol is the problem
Mr Heffernan said alcohol is the problem.
He advises workers to watch how much they drink at the work Christmas party, and to even consider not drinking at all.
“You’ve got to ask yourself, is getting drunk and making a fool of yourself in front of your work colleagues worth your job or your career?” he said.
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