December 17, 2014
Nobody wants to be a Scrooge at Christmas but as an employer, you need to be aware of the risk of unpleasant incidents occurring and take preventative steps beforehand.
Your employees may not be aware or understand that whether the party takes place on the work premises or off site, it is considered to be a work related outing. For you, this means that you continue to be responsible for your employees actions.
With some simple steps, employers can readily protect themselves:
- Take an inclusive approach and make sure all employees are invited to the party, regardless of sex, age and religious beliefs;
- To avoid allegations of discrimination, ensure that employees away from the business due to maternity or paternity leave, sickness or any other reason are made aware of all arrangements for the party and receive an invitation;
- Ensure your policies on bullying and harassment, social media and discrimination are all up to date;
- Take care not to pressurise individuals into attending the party and especially so, if those individuals are of a non-Christian faith as it could make them feel uncomfortable and lead to an allegation of discrimination;
- Be choosy about your venue and entertainment to ensure it is accommodating, inoffensive and has something for all. In particular, ensure that the venue is accessible for disabled employees and suitable for all ages;
- Make sure that if you have a non-drinker, suitable alternatives are available;
- Do ensure that you remind your employees of the social media policy. You want to avoid employees posting pictures or comments of their colleagues after an alcohol fuelled evening. Not only may it cause no end of issues between staff, it could also serve to damage the reputation of the business;
- Do not discuss ‘work’ with your employees during the party. Avoid making comments or promises about progression or opportunities across the business after a drink or two; this could just lead to an argument about whether the comment is legally binding;
- Do educate your managers on how you expect them to behave and why. Put it in writing & send a memo to your managers reminding them of the need to assist you in keeping a handle on things and to refrain from getting into difficult situations;
- If the party takes place on a work day, ensure you have a clear policy in place to help you consistently deal with sickness the following day;
We hope you enjoy your Christmas Party and the festivities. We at Tayntons wish all of our clients a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.
Please contact Tayntons for employment queries on 0800 158 4147.