Ban mobile phones, dodgy gifts in office party crackdown

MOBILE phones could be banned and potentially offensive "Secret Santa" presents are being weeded out as bosses take a hard-line on office Christmas party shenanigans.

Lawyers have even warned companies to appoint sober companions at parties to ensure that hijinks are kept under control.

The Daily Telegraph reports a workers' compensation firm suggested having someone with first aid knowledge handy, in case the "clumsy" IT guy or the "flirtatious" marketing assistant become a worry after a few too many drinks.

"Sexual harassment complaints, accidents, offensive conversations, wardrobe malfunctions, karaoke - they all happen more readily when aided by a little booze," the firm wrote in a guidebook.

HopgoodGanim Lawyers is pushing for the use of sober staff to chaperone boozy workers.

Also be wary of posting fun photos on the company website or newsletter, the firm warned, in case it captures a sleazy fling in the background.

Another law firm warned that banning smart phones could be the smartest idea to ensure nothing untoward ends up online or shared across the company.

Workplace law expert Athena Koelmeyer told ABC's Radio National three ways to keep yourself (and the company) out of the legal quagmire.

1. Don't leave an esky full of beers for people to serve themselves - if someone overdoes it, any fallout could land on the shoulders of the company.

2. If you're going to misbehave, do it after the party ends - Doing the wrong thing at the work Christmas party is considered part of your work duties. Misbehaving elsewhere may be considered as being in your private time, separate from the workplace.

3. Violence is never acceptable - Society (and by extension the Fair Work Commission) does not consider booze to be an excuse for violence or bad behaviour. Any outburst of violence at a work function will almost certainly leave you jobless.


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