28th November 2019
The work Christmas Party is an occasion for all to look forward to; however it is a minefield for employment disputes and can result in unwanted disciplinary action for employees and employers finding themselves being held liable for employee’s actions.
As the clock ticks down to Christmas Party time, employers need to avoid the event becoming talked about for all the wrong reasons. Whether held in or out of working hours and on or off site, a work-organised Christmas party is an extension of the workplace which can test a business across the board on its policies, culture and attitudes.
When a workforce gets together to eat, drink and be merry, risks of misconduct, harassment, absenteeism and discrimination can be increased if employers are not careful.
In order to protect themselves (from disputes, potential claims or bad publicity) along with their staff and others, employers should be wary of the risks that are inherent during the Christmas festivities and take positive steps to mitigate this.
Now is a good time for employers to check that their policies and procedures are up-to-date and fit for purpose. It is also best practice for employees to be sent a reminder of expected behaviour at company social events making it clear that disciplinary action may follow should any misconduct arise.
Without dampening Christmas spirits, there are a few things that should be considered before the evening gets underway:
Keep scrolling for more top tips and considerations before party season!
If something does go wrong at the Christmas party you should act promptly to investigate and make sure the company’s grievance and/or disciplinary policies are followed. You must treat any reported incidents as if they had happened in the workplace during working hours as failure to do so could lead to substantial claims, loss of employees and associated damage to your company’s reputation.
Each year we see significant cases reaching tribunals and courts from incidents arising at work Christmas parties. It is therefore important to ensure that you have protected yourself and your business ahead of time by considering the risks identified above and if an incident does occur, make sure it is dealt with properly to minimise the damage.
For help and advice please contact our Employment Law Team on 01256 844888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other articles you may be interested in reading:
Dealing with Mental Health Issues at Work
LGBTQ Rights in the Workplace
When does a Hug become Unacceptable Behaviour?
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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