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Employer-supplied alcohol a ‘mitigating factor’ in misconduct, says FWC

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HC Online | 02 Jul 2015, 07:58 AM Agree 0
The FWC has ruled in favour of an employee who sexually harassed co-workers at a work function saying he was unfairly dismissed. Does this change the rule-book around work-related parties?
  • Bernie Althofer | 04 Jul 2015, 03:07 PM Agree 0
    The 'grog made me do it' defence seems to be a ploy used by some people to justify going 'off the rails' and then expecting others to take pity on them for their conduct. As a number of posts in other forums and discussion groups have indicated, individuals do need to take responsibility for their own actions.

    Organisations should as indicated conduct a risk assessment and have a responsible service of alcohol policy that applies on a year round basis. It may mean that only 'light' drinks are served for a limited time and a reasonable amount of food is provided. It might also mean that a 'party host' is held accountable for the behaviour and conduct of all attendees.

    Some individuals might perceive that the foods and drinks are free so that means they are not limited in how much they can have. It does appear that no two individuals are able to consume the same quantity, nor do some people want to.

    Maybe this case is not about changing the rule book, but is about looking at existing rules within an organisation and making sure that everyone knows them and what the implications are. For example, there may be a policy about sexual harassment and there may be a Code of Conduct, but are the two related, or are they stand alone in practice?

    I don't pretend to be a wowser when it comes to the Xmas party, but with appropriate controls in place, everyone can have a good time, and avoid time consuming and expensive investigations and litigation. At the end of the day, people need to treat others with respect and dignity. It seems that in some cases, individuals need to partake of some libation to help them say what is on their mind. The problem is that when alcoholic drinks become involved, considerable damage can be and is caused to all involved.
  • Paul | 08 Jul 2015, 01:28 PM Agree 0
    Really disappointing by FWC.

  • NA | 06 Nov 2015, 11:42 AM Agree 0
    Well done FWA – so an adult can get drunk, behave abusively towards their co-workers, arrive to the function already intoxicated, but it’s not their fault because the employer was generous and supplied alcohol, what happed to ownership? oh and his colleagues still have to work with him after being harassed! This ruling is a joke.
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