Can I claim workers compensation if I get injured at the Christmas party?
After a long and gruelling work year, there’s no better event to let your hair down and celebrate your achievements alongside your colleagues, than at the annual Christmas party.
Alcohol, speeches, dancing are just some of the elements that are synonymous with most Aussie Christmas parties, but although they’re a celebration, many people forget to realise that they’re also an extension of the work environment. So effectively, a Christmas party, even though it may be held outside of the workplace, is an event where employee entitlements, responsibilities and employer duty care is still enforced and upheld.
When am I covered for workers compensation at the Christmas party?
Generally speaking, most injuries that occur at a work Christmas party will be covered. Just like the usual workplace, it’s an employers responsibility to ensure a safe environment for its employees.
For example, if your work Christmas party was held at restaurant and you fall down some stairs and suffer a broken leg, you’ll most likely be covered.
However, excessive drinking and being drunk is no excuse for an employee sustaining an injury, and if an employee was found to be intoxicated which directly contributed to the accident, then there’s a good chance they won’t be covered.
If you sustain an injury on the way home from your Christmas party or at a venue that you’ve decided to attend after the official function, then you’ll likely not be eligible for workers compensation.
As it is an extension of the workplace, harassment, discrimination or bullying should not be tolerated, and if an employee is subject to this type of behaviour, they could be eligible to make a workers compensation claim.
What are the responsibilities of the employer at the Christmas party?
Just like the actual workplace, the employer’s main responsibility at a Christmas party is to make sure their employees are socialising in a safe environment.
Excessive drinking and being drunk at a Christmas party may impact an employee’s workers compensation claim, however it’s the employers responsibility to ensure the responsible service of alcohol. At the end of the day, it’s the employer’s choice to provide alcohol or put on a bar tab, so they need to ensure the service is handled responsibly. If an employer is aware that a staff member is heavily intoxicated and does nothing to limit their access to alcohol and an injury ensues, this can be viewed as negligence on the part of the employer.
The employer should provide food and there should be non-alcoholic drink options available.
It’s also important the employer has outlined plans and potential strategies for the employees to get home safely from the function. Making it clear what public transport is available or even providing employees with cab charges are some effective ways of ensuring employees return home from the Christmas party safely.
If you’ve been injured at a work Christmas party and want to know your entitlements and whether you may be eligible for workers compensation, give us a call and speak to one of our specialist workers compensation solicitors for free advice today.