The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has ruled as unfair the sacking of an employee who displayed drunken behaviour and sexually harassed colleagues at an office party where unlimited alcohol was served, says Anna Patty in a report for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Employer partly to blame for behaviour of drunk employee
According to the FWC ruling, the employer is partly to blame for the worker’s behaviour because of the unlimited alcohol served at that Christmas party. In effect, the FWC is saying that employers that serve free-flowing alcohol at office parties or functions may not really be in a position to insist on standards of conduct.
Aside from sexually harassing female colleagues, the drunk employee concerned also verbally abused even his bosses with a few choice words. His drunken behaviour was fueled by 10 beers and one vodka and coke.
This incident, plus the FWC ruling, should, at the very least, make employers rethink their position regarding the serving of alcohol during office parties. Having a clear drug and alcohol policy in the workplace would be absolutely important so incidents of this nature can be avoided and dealt with appropriately. But if employers are going to insist that such a policy will be fully enforced at office functions, the least they can do is limit the alcohol being served in it. You just can’t tell people to behave them give them an unlimited supply of something that would modify their behaviour, and all for free at that. As far as we’re concerned, however, a ban on alcohol wouldn’t be so bad. No alcohol at parties, no drunk employee to deal with.
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