The liability of an employer does not start and end at the office door. Employers should understand that their liability extends to outside events affiliated with their staff’s employment (such as employer-sponsored events, training workshops or even office parties).
Employers can be held legally responsible for acts of discrimination or harassment in the workplace or in connection with a person’s employment.
This is known as vicarious liability.
It also means that employers can be liable for acts by their employees that occur at work-related events, such as conferences, training workshops, business trips and work- related social events, such as Christmas parties. For example, in the case of Leslie v Graham  FCA, an employer was found to be vicariously liable for sexual harassment in a situation where the harassment occurred
between two employees in the early hours of the morning in a serviced apartment they were sharing, while attending a work- related conference.
With workplace events approaching at the end of the year (such as office parties, lunches or even the end-of-year Christmas hurrah), you need to take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of discrimination or harassment occurring to and by your employees during these events.
Employers owe a duty of care to their employees and must take reasonable steps to identify and reduce potential risks. The nature of workplace functions and consumption of alcohol heightens the threshold for what is required of employees to take ‘reasonable steps.’
Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent inappropriate conduct at workplace functions can result in significant liability for the employer.
To reduce risks at workplace functions, the following reasonable steps can be implemented to minimise employer liability: