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Planning an office party this Christmas?

It’s that time of year again, the run in to the festive season and the planning of your own Christmas party!

A time of food, booze and festive excitement, party outfits and secret Santa with his novelty chocolates.  So from us here at Rowlands & Hames (& Poppleston Allen solicitors), here is an employment law present of tips to help prevent your Christmas work party becoming a new year HR hangover.

Remember you are responsible and have a duty to take reasonable care of your employees.

When it comes to harassment, as an employer you are responsible for the actions of your employees at Christmas parties, even if they take place outside of work hours.  Comments made at Christmas parties have resulted in some high payouts at tribunal, and are not good for morale. 

If you haven’t already, you should think about implementing anti-harassment and discrimination policies, which make it clear what is inappropriate behaviour, backed up with training.  Warn staff of the implications of this behaviour.   It is easiest to implement these within your normal training regime.

Try some preventative measures.  If you expect them to be at work at 9am the next day, tell them and warn them what action (disciplinary?) will be taken if they fail to turn up.  Also try limiting the amount of free booze you provide (none is best) and feed your staff well.

Do not let your staff drive home.  Put on a bus or taxis for staff to get home.

Try and limit your own alcoholic intake – it is possible to enter into a binding legal agreement, even when you have had a few!  So avoid offering your cleaner a pay rise and promotion.

So is everyone in the party spirit now… bah humbug, sorry, we mean Happy Christmas!

Rowlands & Hames would like to thank Poppleston Allen solicitors for this article.

Tagged with: Christmas, party

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