At the risk of being hounded for mentioning Christmas in October, if you are planning a closedown over the Christmas and New Year period, you need to start thinking about it now. Here is a Q&A to get your thinking going.
A. First, call them back. Don’t simply accept a text message as adequate notification. It is much easier to tell mistruths in a text than in a phone call. Ask if they are okay, and what appears to be the ailment they are suffering. Remove the sarcasm in your tone and rephrase that to “Just checking you are okay. How long do you think you will be off work?” Most people will fill in for you the reason they are sick without you having to ask the direct question. If you are not satisfied with the answer, tell them you will need a medical certificate. Then keep an eye on facebook.
A. Ask them if they are okay, and what they would like to do about it. The options range from nothing to a formal complaint. If you have a policy on harassment make sure you follow what it says. Offer the employee EAP (external counselling), and most importantly listen without judgement. Then call us and we will take you through the next steps appropriate to the circumstances.
A. You should make sure that the serving of alcohol is responsible and employees have ample access to lots of food and water or soft drinks. You may want to consider calling on a set time to cease serving alcohol and have tea and coffee readily available. This would be a responsible call for health and safety reasons and may just reduce the chances of unacceptable behaviour.
A. The last thing you want is for an employee (or client) to be injured on their way home from your function or any other function they attend as part of their role due to drinking and then driving. The seriousness of the consequences if that happened, should not be underestimated and should also be enough to persuade you to ensure adequate supervision and education of those you are responsible for. It would potentially be determined to be the responsibility of the employer to ensure employees get home safe from a work related function. Arranging transport home is a great way to reduce the risk of someone wanting to get behind the wheel and drive off.