With the countdown to Christmas already started, it might be an idea to look at how to avoid the potential employment law issues at Christmas parties. Without wanting to be viewed as the 'Scrooge' of the party season, we think that it is helpful to set out some useful tips before entering into the party season and heading for that next glass of mulled wine.
Employees should continue to be aware that when on a work Christmas lunch or dinner, they are still employed by their employer and as such should behave in a reasonable manner. Potential problems such as drinking too much, getting into fights, might come back to haunt you next day in the office. It is important to remember that existing disciplinary and grievance procedures should be followed when dealing with any potential fall out from the office Christmas party. Everyone should also be aware that if their Christmas night out takes place on a weekday evening, they should ensure they have booked off some annual leave for the following day if they do not want to come into the office with a slightly sore head!
Employers also have a duty to their employees at external functions, and therefore it might be an idea for employers to arrange for taxis for the employees to make sure they get home safely. Alternatively it might be an idea to suggest that employees travel to and from any Christmas function as part of a group to ensure their safety.
Employers, and also employees, need to be aware of respecting boundaries when it comes to other people. Everyone should be mindful of the fact that some individuals may not like to drink alcohol, be it for personal or religious reasons. No one should be forced to participate in anything they feel uncomfortable with. Employers should make sure that there are non-alcoholic alternatives on offer for their employees at all events. Employees need also be aware of making their fellow employees feel uncomfortable and should always be aware of any potential embarrassment or offence that an individual may feel because of jokes or innuendoes.
If everyone bears these things in mind, while still continuing to have good time, the Christmas party season should go off without a hitch! Should you wish to discuss anything about your Christmas party then please speak to our employment team.