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Top 5 tips to ensure your work Christmas Party doesn’t end up in Court!

Well we thought 2020 was bad and then came along the annus horribilis 2021. Employers and employees have had another challenging year. The annual work Christmas party is a time to reflect on the year that has been and unwind with colleagues. 

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees when they are participating in an authorised work function, and to ensure that they are vigilant in preventing bullying, sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination that can occur.

In order to avoid the risk of employees causing harm to themselves (or others) and potential legal problems, employers should consider the following top 5 tips:

  1. Remind employees in advance of the Christmas party that it is an extension of the workplace, and inappropriate behaviour may lead to disciplinary action being taken in the same way it would as if it took place during work hours.
  2. Have a clear start and finish time for the function, and inform employees in advance that any ‘after party’ is not the authorised work function. 
  3. Monitor alcohol consumption and ensure there is sufficient food provided. Avoid open bars and shots. The consumption of alcohol can affect employees’ behaviour and if employees are intoxicated, there is a greater likelihood that they will engage in risky behaviour.  
  4. Refresh staff on your Social Media Policy to ensure that inappropriate photos, videos, or comments are not taken, made and/or posted online during or after the party.
  5. Have a complaints policy and procedure for dealing with any complaints promptly and in the appropriate manner.

If you would like advice about obligation to employees at the work Christmas party, please contact our office.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

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