Christmas party season – employers’ responsibilities!

This event in the calendar year is a perfect chance for employers to recognise the hard work that their employees have achieved over the year. Regardless of varying religious and differing beliefs, the holiday season is a great time for reflection and celebration. Ensuring that everyone enjoys themselves is key to the success of the night, but you equally need to ensure that staff are both safe and ‘well-behaved’!

From an employer’s perspective it is important to remember that you can be liable for the conduct of your employees at such events, even when it takes place outside the workplace.

It is important that you ensure employees understand the standard of conduct expected of them at these events, and that they are expected to observe the provisions of work-related policies such as Dignity at Work, anti-bullying, and harassment.

The actions of employees at events such as Christmas parties could potentially damage working relationships, and reflect negatively on the business, resulting in complaints or possible disciplinary actions.

You have a duty of care to all employees and should take reasonable steps to ensure that inappropriate conduct at these events do not arise. Additionally ignoring any incidents because it occurred at the Christmas party may also leave you liable.

If the Christmas party is out of hours, employees should be made aware of the fact that they are not obliged to attend. Employers also need to be sensitive to employees who don’t drink alcohol and should ensure there are non-alcoholic drinks are available.

Christmas parties or work-related events are not the appropriate location for discussions in relation to performance, promotion, salary, or career prospects.  It is another common mistake that work related conversations that should remain in the workplace spill over to the social event.

Where the Christmas party falls on a day when employees will be required to attend work the following day, employers should communicate to staff not to be at work under the influence of alcohol so that they do not endanger their own or another person’s health and safety at work.

Not all publicity is good publicity! So, inform employees that they should not post pictures or comments to social media that would adversely affect the company’s reputation or the privacy of colleagues and so on.

When the proper planning is done for these events and the people are aware of what the standards of conduct and communication and so on are at these events, there is much better chance that they end up being what they are meant to be – which is groups of co-workers who have worked together all year, socialising and having fun together in an environment outside of the usual workplace and usually a big morale booster which is what Christmas parties should be all about!!

Rest assured, the most likely issue that you will encounter at your company Christmas party will be the ‘after-stories’!

If you have any concerns relating to the party season, contact us t

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