By Charles Watson, Workforce Guardian.
Events of any size and nature should result in congratulations flowing between the organiser, the client, the caterers, the venue and all other involved parties. They should certainly not result in litigation or reputation damage within the greater events industry.
No need to look further than the slickly marketed – but ultimately failed – Fyre Festival in the Bahamas for an example of when an event doesn’t go as planned…or at least as advertised. As a result of that the organisers, promoters, and pretty much anyone associated with it has been named in multiple lawsuits. Those lawsuits include one claiming US$100m for, amongst other things, fraud, negligence, breach of contract, and breach of good faith.
“Wouldn’t that only happen in ‘Merica?” I hear you say. No, we have a most adequate and embracing litigation system here in Australia as well. Also, we have an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the “ACCC”) that is all grown up and happy to flex its litigious muscles.
Some planning, review and revision should be part of all event related practices.
Risk Analysis – When did you last review the contents? Do you have one?
Terms of Trade – When were they last reviewed? Are your liabilities limited?
Workplace Health and Safety – Remember a venue is a workplace for some, and possibly an extension of the workplace for others particularly if it’s a work function. Relevant laws and standards apply. Do caterers meet food safety standards? Does the event need security? Is everyone working to safe work methods?
Criminal acts – property destruction and physical assaults (they never happen where alcohol is served) opens the way for civil litigation, not just the local Police turning up and being confused as strippers.
Workplace Relations – is any contractor involved in setting up the event using sham contract arrangements? Are all employees being paid at least at minimum Award rates? Could you potentially be liable if they aren’t?
Like with all things legal related if it doesn’t pass the ‘sniff test’, get it checked out.