Looking forward to your end of year knees-up?
Workplaces across the country are full of stories about the 'photocopying incident' or 'stationary cupboard exploits' of last year...not to mention what Jim in Accounts said to Mary in Personnel!!
But staff should be aware that, just because a Christmas party takes place outside of work hours and in off site premises, it does not mean that any misconduct falls outside of the employer’s control.
The general rule is that action can be taken against any off-duty misconduct if it is in some way damaging to the organisation’s business interests. So beware!!
As inclusive as possible
Ensure the religious beliefs of attendees should also be taken into consideration although, in most cases, there will be no need to make significant changes to plans as a result. The key thing to remember is that the requirements of all faiths should be catered to.
So non-alcoholic drinks and vegetarian meals should be made available, for example. It might also be wise to avoid holding the event in a casino if there any members of the workforce who might object to gambling!
In other words, it is always a good idea, from a business as well as a legal perspective, to ensure the party as inclusive as possible.
After the party
Finally, even when the party is over, there are still some important issues to consider. In arranging the event and providing the alcohol, employers will be seen to shoulder some of the responsibility for the outcome.
Therefore, it may be prudent to arrange suitable transport in order to take home any revellers who might be the worse for wear. Responsible behaviour here could range from making sure everyone is aware of the telephone number of local taxi firms up to going the whole hog and providing all staff members with transport on minibuses.
Of course, the fact that an intoxicated employee has managed to find their way home is no guarantee that they will turn up for work the next day though.
As a result, employers should always clarify when staff will be expected to arrive in the office the following morning, particularly if the party is held on a week night. Any unauthorised absence can then be addressed using the absence policy.
In summary then, if you want to have a stress-free Christmas party season, you might want to consider the following the steps below:
- When planning a party, ensure that all employees are catered for.
- Prior to the event, make sure that everyone is aware of how they are expected to behave.
- During the event itself, it can help to have a responsible manager present to monitor staff behaviour.
- At the end of the party, consider supplying or arranging transport.
- When it’s all over, ensure any complaints are investigated fairly and comprehensively.
Remember though not to be a kill joy...have fun!
Tags: Christmas, HR, Party, Legal, Staff, Leadership, Management