An employers' Christmas party survival guide

Posted on 13th December 2016 by Streets What's trending?


Image to represent An employers' Christmas party survival guide

The festive season is here, which means employees across the country will soon be letting their hair down at the office Christmas party.


This is often the one time of year when employees are brought together in a social environment, usually with large amounts of alcohol thrown into the mix. So what should employers do – and not do – with regards to their Christmas celebrations?

1.   Remember that Christmas parties are an extension of the workplace

Aside from details such as dress code, time and venue, employers should provide employees with a gentle, good humoured reminder that the Christmas party is an extension of the workplace and that certain standards are expected of them. This could include the dangers of excess alcohol consumption, inappropriate use of social media during and after the event and behaviours that could be viewed as harassment or misconduct.

2.   Be aware of religious sensitivities

It is unlikely that holding a Christmas party would in itself be seen as religious discrimination because generally these parties are more about staff getting together socially, than celebrating religion. However, employers should consider having a policy on religious observance during working hours and support employees whose religious festivals fall at different times of the year.

3.   Consider whether a free bar is a good idea

A free bar will undoubtedly be a morale booster for staff, but employers need to be aware of the dangers of providing an unlimited free bar. In Williams and others v Whitbread Beer Co, three employees at a seminar who were dismissed because they ended up drunk, abusive and violent on the free bar, were found to have been unfairly dismissed. The unlimited free bar provided by the employer was an important factor in determining whether or not the dismissal was fair. Employers could consider having designated managers to keep an eye out for anyone drinking too much, who can then nip any problems in the bud.

4.   Dealing with the aftermath

What if an employee comes to work late or not at all the day after the Christmas party? An employer can make deductions from employees’ pay as long as the right to make deductions from wages for unauthorised absence is provided for in the employment contract. If disciplinary action is to be taken for lateness or non-attendance after the Christmas party, employers should ensure that staff are informed in advance that this is a possibility and subsequently follow its attendance management or disciplinary policy and procedures.

5.   Be prepared to take formal action if necessary

Any cases of misconduct which are likely to impact on the working environment post party, such as fighting and allegations of sexual harassment, should be dealt with in accordance with the company’s disciplinary procedure. Employers not only have a duty of care towards staff, but the Equality Act 2010 makes employers liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees in the course of employment, unless they can show that they took reasonable steps to prevent such acts.

If you would like to discuss this or any other matter please email STREETSHR@STREETSWEB.CO.UK


No Advice

The content produced and presented by Streets is for general guidance and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. Furthermore, it should not be considered a recommendation or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities or other form of financial asset. The information provided by Streets is of a general nature and is not specific for any individual or entity. Appropriate and tailored advice or independent research should be obtained before making any such decisions. Streets does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which is incurred from you acting or not acting as a result of obtaining Streets' visual or audible content.

Information

The content used by Streets has been obtained from or is based on sources that we believe to be accurate and reliable. Although reasonable care has been taken in gathering the necessary information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information we publish and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions in material. You should always seek specific advice prior to making any investment, legal or tax decisions.


Expert insight and news straight
to your inbox

Related Articles


Boost Your Restaurant's Cash Flow with These Top Tips!

Maintaining a healthy cash flow is crucial for the success of any restaurant. Here are five key strategies to get you started: Optimise Menu Prices Ensure your dishes are priced for both competitiveness and profitabilityStreamline InventoryReduce waste and free up cash by using smart inventory management techniquesNegotiate with SuppliersBetter terms ...


Property Finance - unlocking opportunities with confidence and support

Exploring, navigating and understanding the complex landscape of property finance options can not only be time consuming, but hard to understand with the diverse range of financing options that are available in the market. It is essential from the outset for business owners to carefully evaluate their financing and ...


Child Benefit Updates

You may have heard about the recent changes to the High Income Child Benefit Charge which were announced in the Spring Budget. This is something that will affect several of our clients, and the changes can influence whether claims are made for child benefit or whether those that ...


You might also be interested in...