find the latest legal job
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Academic Dean and Head of School of the TC Beirne School of Law
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· An outstanding opportunity · Provide educational, research and organisational leadership
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Arncliffe NSW 2205
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Silly season do's and don'ts revealed

Silly season do's and don'ts revealed

With legal professionals starting to wrap up business and relax for the festive break, a Brisbane-headquartered firm has issued a warning ahead of this year’s workplace Christmas parties.

Bennett & Philp Lawyers has flagged a number of dos and don’ts ahead of the silly season.

Speaking on behalf of the firm, injury compensation law specialist and director Trent Johnson says while having a good time is warranted at a staff Christmas party – as is wearing silly hats and enjoying alcoholic refreshments – certain behaviour is not unacceptable.

Mr Johnson said employees need to be aware of the potential legal issues relating to the use of mobile phones at Christmas parties. He said those who use them to record, exchange or upload footage showcasing inappropriate behaviour on social media sites could find themselves out of a job or even facing legal action from unhappy colleagues.

“These days, people seem to have their mobiles ready to video every incident they see, then upload it to social media or sites like YouTube. The traditional view that anything that happens at the work Christmas party remains in-house means little when everyone has a mobile with a camera,” Mr Johnson said.

“The temptation to upload some office party highlights to public content sites like Facebook or YouTube is very real.

“Employers need to have a policy in place to avoid disputes and also to ensure that staff understand that a work-organised and funded Christmas event is covered by workplace laws. The general rule is that if the boss is paying for it, then it’s a work event.

“That means people who bring their firm or fellow colleagues into disrepute by uploading uncensored material to social sites could find themselves out of a job if their behaviour breaches a term of their employment.”

Mr Johnson said colleagues are entitled to take legal action if their “Christmas antics” were uploaded to social media and websites without their knowledge or permission.

“An employer might also be held accountable for uploaded material if an aggrieved employee successfully claims that their employer failed to prevent something that happened at a workplace event from being shown or published to others, resulting in embarrassment, ridicule or distress,” he added.

“The safest option for any form of workplace Christmas function would be to ban mobile phones or any camera-equipped portable device.”

However, Mr Johnson admitted that from a practical point of view, banning all mobile phones from a work Christmas party is unrealistic.

“Perhaps from a practical perspective, employers should educate staff on the risks they expose themselves and others to by filming and broadcasting material at such events, and encourage staff to put their phones away and focus on socialising with their work colleagues,” he suggested.

Mr Johnson said employers are entitled to maintain that all staff have a responsibility to not undermine the business in any way, and posting inappropriate images or video on social media websites could harm the employee’s and the firm’s reputation.

“Both employers and employees have responsibilities about Christmas workplace partying. Alcohol sometimes change people’s personalities and things done in the heat of the moment can’t be undone if the actions are filmed and uploaded to the internet for the world to see,” he said.

“Leaving your mobile switched off in your pocket or bag could make everyone’s end of year function a bit more enjoyable, and avoid recriminations later.”

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Silly season do's and don'ts revealed
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Gavel, legal book, criminal lawyers
Jan 19 2018
Three criminal lawyers named NSW magistrates
The NSW Attorney-General has announced the appointment of three new local court magistrates. ...
Warning
Jan 18 2018
Lawyer highlights ‘unintended consequences’ on SSM estate planning
A succession lawyer has warned that the right for same-sex couples to legally marry could have a sub...
drug rehabilitation services available in rural and remote communities
Jan 18 2018
ALS survey shines spotlight on insufficient rehabilitation services
A new survey posted by the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) has revealed an alarming insight into ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...