With the festive season fast approaching, the office Christmas party is often a highlight for any business. However, common sense can go out the window as excitement grows and can cause problems. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t suffer a legal hangover after all the celebrations.
Don’t make the party a three-line whip
People can have many different reasons for not attending a Christmas party, whether they do not celebrate the holiday because of religious differences or have family responsibilities. Trying to make your party compulsory can mean you breach your employees’ rights.
Keep it clean
2017 has been a year which has massively increased awareness of harassment. When people let their guard down over the festive season, things can get out of hand. Whether it is questionable gifts in the Secret Santa or unwanted attention under the mistletoe, make sure that your staff know what behaviour is expected of them and make sure that any breaches are dealt with in accordance with your discipline policy.
Watch out for the festive “spirits”
Alcohol is often a large part in Christmas celebrations. However, over-indulgence can come back to bite an employer if they encourage it. If the drinking happens at your event and an employee gets into trouble, such as getting involved in a fight, making unwelcome advances on their office crush or drink driving, you can be liable for the consequences. Also make sure that any employees who are under 18 are supervised and not allowed to drink.
Control your reputation
Ah, the Christmas party selfie, shared on Twitter and Facebook. Most of the time it is innocuous and can in fact enhance your business image as being fun and informal. But beware of anything which would damage your business or infringe the rights of your staff to their privacy. Make sure that your staff know that your social media policy covers them at the Christmas party and that you will enforce it for any pictures or posts which are derogatory, defamatory or bring the business into disrepute.
A little bit of planning and information prior to your Christmas event can prevent having to deal with problems in the New Year. Here’s to a safe, happy and claim-free festive season!