Managing risks at 2020 Christmas Functions

Celebrating the end of year and the Christmas holidays is an annual tradition for most businesses and a chance to reward employees for their hard work.

But this year, most businesses are having to downsize their Christmas party or take it online. There is also an added stress of managing functions within COVID- safe guidelines. 

We’ve put together this quick guide for how to host a safe and risk-free Christmas function and found:

Queensland Government Guide to hosting festivities in Queensland 

COVID Guide to Safe Events 

Fairwork entitlements for the Christmas and New Year period 

Legal advice from Moray Agnew Lawyers and Swaab

According to Moray Agnew Lawyers, there are still legal risks and an extra layer of precautions that businesses will face this year.

“COVID-19 adds an extra dimension, and steps need to be taken to ensure a COVID safe approach to any celebrations,” Moray Agnew Lawyers writes in its Workplace Directions blog.

“For employers that do proceed with a Christmas function, including virtual events, they need to be mindful that they remain legally responsible for the conduct of employees at work-related events, and any unlawful behaviour engaged in by employees can be the subject of a workplace complaint or litigation.”

Michael Brynes, a Workplace Relations Lawyer for Swaab agrees. 

“The starting point for such parties is that they are an extension of the workplace – employers need to carefully balance holding and facilitating a fun event with maintaining a safe, respectful environment for employees,” Mr Brynes wrote in a blog for Mondaq.

“This year, the safety of employees will need to include an assessment of risks arising from Covid-19. That involves a threshold question: should the workplace Christmas party be held at all?”

Mr Brynes explains further that attendees should have already been made aware that workplace policies apply at the Christmas party, including policies relating to sexual harassment, bullying and online behaviour. 

But sometimes despite best intentions and the best advice, Christmas Parties go wrong and result in dismissals, harassment claims and disciplinary measures.

One of the insurance policies that may be called on to respond to Christmas Parties gone wrong is Management Liability Insurance. 

Management Liability insurance covers the risks that arise from running your business.

For example:

  • OH& S dramas
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Statutory breach of duty
  • Defamation
  • Statutory fines & penalties

To find out more about Management Liability Insurance. Click here.


The information in this article is to be regarded as general advice. Your personal objectives, needs and financial circumstances were not taken into account when preparing this website content. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement and Financial Services Guide from Allsafe Insurance Brokers before making any decision to purchase a financial product.


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