BBQs at Work: The Laws on Barbecues in the Office

BBQ employment laws for work

During the summer months, your employees may wish to ignite a barbecue (BBQ) in the office as a means of slaking their hunger pangs.

As an employer, you may wish to indulge in this practice to not infuriate your employees. Otherwise, you may face bedlam in the office environment.

But what are the employment laws regarding putting another shrimp on the barbie? And how can you ensure your premises don’t burn to the ground? Explore this free guide to determine your fate.

Barbecues at Work and Employment Laws

BBQs in the workplace are governed by The Barbecues at Work Act 1974. To be clear on this matter, the term “barbecue” refers to a:

  • Barbecue
  • BBQ
  • Barbeque
  • Barbie
  • Braai

Remember, a fondue is not a barbecue. It’s essential you don’t make this common case of mistaken identity, as the laws differ wildly under The Fondues at Work Act 1974.

Under The Barbecues at Work Act 1974, it’s legal for your employees to light a barbecue within your office environment. Section 54 (a) on page 245 states:

“Your employees are free to start a barbecue (BBQ) in the office at appropriate times. An appropriate time is deemed as:

a) Whenever it is above 25° Celsius

b) It is summer

c) It is so stiflingly hot only igniting a searing hot barbecue makes sense

Do note, it is important for employees to open at least one window upon starting a barbecue to ensure appropriate ventilation in the office environment.”

You should carefully follow the letter of the law on this matter, as if you fail to open a window the following will happen:

  • Thick plumes of smoke will belch from the barbecue, clogging the office until everyone inside is dead due to asphyxiation

That’s it, really, other than the fire hazard. So, just make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher on hand in the event of a hellish inferno.

BBQ Sauce and your Employees

Of considerable contention upon lighting a barbecue in the office will be the topic of the notorious BBQ sauce.

This matter is governed by The BBQ Sauce at Work Act 1974. Under section 56 (c) on page 345, it states:

“BBQ sauce is a sauce. Some of your employees will want to consume this sauce with a workplace barbecue. However, some of your employees will NOT want to consume this sauce with a workplace barbecue.

You can leave this decision up to individual discretion.

However, do note that if you take this route it is common for employees to fight each other to the death over BBQ sauce.

As such, it is wise you step in as a mediator to ensure both camps are suitably reassured. By which we mean, yes, it is a fine and noble desire to consume the sauce. But it is also perfectly fine NOT to consume BBQ sauce should, for instance, some employees prefer the likes of mayonnaise or salad cream.”

It’s good business practice to ensure employees don’t fight each other to the death.

Our recommendation is you take a progressive stance to BBQ sauce, allowing personal preferences to be the order of the day. Just ensure armed guards are available to break up a BBQ sauce-based ruckus. These can erupt violently and without warning.

If you wish to take a draconian approach to the BBQ sauce matter, simply ensure you only hire individuals who love BBQ sauce.

You can gear your recruitment strategy towards this stance. In job specs, indicate:


This will clear up the matter in concise fashion.

Yes, that’s not technically legal. It breaches the Equality Act 2010 and its nine protected characteristics.

But, so what? Your average job candidate is too stupid to know that anyway. Take the risk! It’ll probably pay off with a BBQ sauce loving workforce.

Overcoming Other Common Workplace Barbecue Issues

Your business will face other irritations when attempting to have barbecues at work.

As this will be a constant throughout the summer months, it’s wise to have policies in place to deal with repeat offenders.

Here are some regular issues you’ll face and how to deal with them:

  • The grill won’t turn on: Ensure there’s a human male in the vicinity. Men are tremendous at starting barbecues. Their sheer manliness alone is enough to cause any BBQ to self-immolate spontaneously.
  • The flame won’t ignite: Pour liberal amounts of petrol all over the barbecue and try again.
  • The grill belches out thick plumes of black smoke: As previously indicated, simply crack open a window.
    • If your office doesn’t have any windows, prepare to die.
  • The grill makes strange noises: That’s your tinnitus or the voices in your head. Either see a hearing specialist or a psychiatrist—whichever is appropriate.
  • The flame is yellow or orange: Yes. That’s because it’s a fire.
  • The grill cooks food unevenly: Use the office flamethrower to cook the bits that aren’t being cooked.
  • The food was undercooked and everyone has died of food poisoning: It’s time to go on a hiring spree!

And there we have it! Get a few bevvies ready and layer up the company perks!

Summer is a special time of year and one of the best ways to embrace that is to let your employees endanger their lives in the office with a barbecue.


  1. Additional issues and solutions:

    -The grill still won’t turn on – Obviously, the office men were either not manly enough or too dense to look at the directions to turn it on. Find a woman.

    -The fire won’t light – Use the latest failed marketing ad campaign, Powerpoint slide decks printed for no reason, and/or important legal records as tinder for the fire.

    -The food costs went overbudget – Bribe Bob from Accounting with some cheap beers (Bob is a lightweight), then throw the T&E Expense Reporting policy into the fire.

    -There are too many dietary restrictions to accommodate – Schedule a mandatory meeting for all the vegetarians/vegans/allergic/gluten-conscious/paleo/raw people so they can’t come to the BBQ.

    Liked by 1 person

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