With the festive period upon us, most companies will have arranged a staff Christmas party. A Christmas party is a good opportunity for staff to enjoy themselves. However, when alcohol is involved inhibitions tend to disappear, which sometimes can leave employers in a difficult situation.
Employers must be aware of their responsibilities to staff and the potential fall outs that can occur following work related social events. Employers may be liable for acts of employees that are performed in the course of employment – and this includes behaviour at a staff Christmas party, for example conduct which amounts to harassment. There are a number of steps employers can take to minimise the risks:
- Remind staff that work related social functions are an extension of the workplace;
- Have clear policies in place in respect of equality and disciplinary rules, which outline what behaviour is acceptable and what is not;
- Train staff on the policies you have in place and keep a record of the training;
- Before the Christmas party, remind staff of the policies;
- If there is a free bar, consider putting a cap on the amount of free alcohol;
- Deal with any complaints about behaviour or conduct following the Christmas party quickly and in line with the disciplinary policy.
Click here if you wish to hear Giles Woolfson on Radio Scotland speaking on this issue with John Beattie (scroll to 35mins 45secs):
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