It’s that time of year again. Time for decorations, mistletoe and the ‘whine’ of lawyers that Christmas parties pose legal minefields that should have every employer quaking in their boots for fear of behaviour that could lead to anything from cases of harassment to staff revolt.
So let’s just calm down for a moment and take a deep breath. Yes, it is true that an estimated 10 per cent of employees admit to having been disciplined or even dismissed as a result of Christmas Party behaviour, but here are our Top 5 Tips on how employers should set an example so they can relax and actually enjoy the festive season.
1. Polish the Policy
Just as companies have guidance on behaviour in the workplace, a conscientious employer should also have a policy for any work-related event outside it. That way, a code of conduct is not specifically Christmas-related and any perception of ‘Scrooge’ is avoided.
2. Celebrate in Work Hours
Daylight is your friend. A lunch or afternoon party reminds people they are with colleagues and not their mates on a night out. If staff want an after-party until the early hours, then that is up to them. There is also plenty of evidence that indicates that people don’t drink as much in the day.
Speaking of which….
3. Alcohol Alert
Offer a drink. Maybe two. A bottle of wine on the table? Lovely! But unlimited alcohol from a free bar is asking for trouble and could lead to issues regarding the responsibility for actions of those who took advantage of such misplaced generosity. It also helps avoids things that are said or done to cause regret the next day.
4. Social Media Embargo
No company should be tweeting, posting or snap-chatting images from the office do. It not only sets a bad example to staff, (who have been reminded of the company’s social media policy in point 1) but could lead to privacy issues. Trust us, your customers, associates and the internet in general can do without your party pictures.
5. Management Support
It is well understood that as you climb the career ladder, you take on more responsibilities. Senior Managers should be relied upon to be more measured and concerned with how the event is going. Meetings should be held in advance to discuss how best to communicate expectations of behaviour to staff, discuss any potential areas of concern and go through procedures should any issues arise.
Should you need any further assistance Verisona Law's Employment team are on hand to provide support and guidance on any issues arising from Christmas parties. Get in touch today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 02392 98 1000.
Here are the types of cases we handle:
- Contracts of Employment
- Employer Staff Handbooks
- Redundancy Process
- Breach of Contract
- Breach of Restrictive Covenants
- Tribunal Claims
- Settlement Agreements
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- Contracts of Employment
- Service Agreements
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