It’s a great time for team members to blow off some steam, bond outside of work and get to know each other without targets and deadlines looming. But it can end up with uncomfortable conversations afterwards if it gets out of control.

Christmas party season is upon us and for some it’ll be a night to remember – but for others, it could be one to forget!

As an employer, you have a duty of care, so you are still responsible for your employee’s actions.

Is an employer responsible for what happens at a Christmas party?

In recent case law, it has been found that YES, the employer can be found liable. This is due to the Christmas party occurring “in the course of employment.”

Therefore, we’ve reflected on some horror stories from Christmases past, to put together a few tips on how management can put on a great party that everyone will love:

  • Issue a reminder to employees in advance of a Christmas party or similar work-related event, that normal rules of behaviour apply, even off the premises, and that the party venue is an extension of the workplace.
  • Remind employees about adherence to ALL policies and procedures, and that any inappropriate behaviour is considered in the same way as working hours.
  • Remind employees not to drink and drive and to make suitable arrangements to get home if they want to drink (consider the use of organising a mini bus to pick up and take people home).
  • Inform employees that over indulging, doesn’t excuse them from coming into work the next day so perhaps consider allowing a slightly later start time or encouraging people to book holidays in advance.
  • Don’t forget to invite employees who are on maternity/paternity leave.
  • Do not make it compulsory to attend. It might clash with non-Christian religious dates.
  • If you employ under 18-year olds, you need to ensure the venue allows under 18s and stocks up on soft drinks.
  • If you employ disabled employees who have access requirements, you need to ensure the venue is fully accessible.

At the risk of sounding like a party pooper, drink fuelled behaviour is the root cause of many tribunal claims each year, so it is important to ensure the above points are considered.

But most of all, enjoy yourself!

If you’d like to learn more please contact us by visiting our contact page.

Hallidays HR wishes you a cheery party and a Happy Christmas.