Tis the season to be careful – especially when hosting the Christmas staff party.
Santa Clause may very well be coming to town but it’s important for employers to remember that tribunals are often tasked to rule on whose been ‘naughty or nice’ at the office Christmas do.
AVOIDING EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES AT CHRISTMAS
To avoid employment law issues it is vital that each and every Christmas reveller attending festive celebrations hosted by employers is made fully aware of the policies and procedures governing their behaviour.
Employers should take steps to ensure they are up to date on what their responsibilities are in relation to parties or events they organise or sponsor to mark the holiday season.
After all it’s the employer who’ll have to answer for the actions or risks to welfare of the employees at any such celebrations.
So as rule employers should be making their list and checking it twice before decking a halls to ensure they avoid a jingle hell at this year’s Christmas do.
POLICIES AND PROCEEDURES
The list of Instructions and guidelines for employees should then be issued to them in advance to set out expectations on standards on behaviour at the party. Employees should be gently but firmly reminded that the event is organised by work and they should adhere to the code of conduct governing the workplace. It may seem a tad draconian but taking such as approach could save an employer a lot of stress and financial risk in the long run.
Of course that doesn’t mean you have to plant yourself in the ‘spoil sport’ category of Ebenezer Scrooge. The very ethos behind the annual Christmas party is to allow staff to unwind and relax as reward for their hard work throughout the year. Providing a fine meal, a glass of wine or two and even some live entertainment can be a perfect token of your appreciation.
However, caution should be taken in all three of these rewards.
CHRISTMAS PARTY IDEAS TO AVOID
Free bar and Christmas party mishaps
A free bar may be a popular choice among staff but it’s proven to be a very bad idea time and time again. Countless employers have found themselves in hot water due to the actions of employees who have overcooked the goose in terms of alcohol consumption. By carefully controlling the amount of free alcohol provided you are limiting the risk of Christmas party mishaps. The last thing any employer wants is for a fun staff occasion to end up with midnight fisty cuffs or a sexual harassment claim. Ensure that staff members are provided with plenty of water and soft drinks and only a limited volume of alcoholic options if you feel that is necessary.
During Christmas party meals ensure there are some appetising non-meat options as many religions prohibit certain meats. Also it is important to provide a vegetarian and fish option to meet the needs of non-meat eaters among your staff.
Ditch the strippers
It stands to reason that employers would provide entertainment which is appropriate for everyone attending the Christmas party. Unfortunately not everyone has shown such common sense. Avoid strippers at all costs if you don’t want to end up in a sexual harassment wrangle you could find difficult to defend.