Enjoy your Christmas and please stay safe
It is nearly the end of another year and Christmas parties and work functions will likely be very common. This is, no doubt, a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company however it can quickly turn from festive fun into a nightmare with unintended consequences.
As we celebrate the year that is coming to an end, we also encourage you to keep in mind some of the issues that we tend to face when it comes to work functions, social media and keeping drugs and alcohol out of the workplace.
Work functions are still connected to the work place
Work functions can be a great opportunity to relax with workmates but please don’t take the opportunity to tell your boss or colleagues what you really think of them. Especially beware of speaking your mind after a few drinks at a work function.
The problem is that workplace policies and codes of conduct will often apply to work functions. In situations involving alcohol it can be easy for misunderstandings to arise or tensions to escalate. This can result in allegations of breaches of standards of behaviour that you may have thought didn’t apply at a work function. Unfortunately, if you are at a work function you may still be subject to disciplinary action.
The line between work and private lives is being increasingly blurred thanks to social media. We continue to represent members who have been called in by the boss to answer to allegations of misconduct arising from social media activities.
Most companies in the railways have in place a social media policy or work instruction which can extend to action taken even if you are not at work. Members need to be aware of the social media policy or procedure at their workplace. Many of these policies expressly provide that a breach may lead to disciplinary action, which may include termination.
Please be aware of and monitor your online presence, particularly during what is commonly termed the silly season and remember that being under the influence will not get you out of trouble.
Drugs and alcohol in the workplace
The same can be said when it comes to drugs and alcohol in the workplace. These policies and procedures exist not only for your own safety but for the safety of your workmates and the travelling public. There are different factors which effect how your body deals with alcohol consumption and readings will therefore vary between people. Importantly, you may not feel like you still have alcohol in your system, even though you do. If in doubt, don’t take the risk.
Call your manager and inform them that you need the day off if you think something is still in your system.
Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is not limited to post incident testing. Random testing is common practice across many worksites and members should familiarise themselves with the specific procedures in place at your own worksite.
If you have any questions or are called to attend a meeting due to allegations of breaching the code of conduct policy at a work function, social media or drug and alcohol policy or procedures please contact your union Organiser straight away.
Be safe, smart and enjoy the festive season!