The Rules of ‘Social’ Engagement – The Christmas Party

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Employment Law on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

The festive period is a whirlwind of lunches, get-togethers and ultimately, the work Christmas party. This can be a troublesome time for employers as they struggle to gauge a balancing act between Mr Christmas and Scrooge.

The organising and planning of the Christmas party can be utterly stressful trying to arrange something that suits the tastes of the majority. Of course you will never be able to please everyone but it is sensible to try and hold an event that is likely to be suitable for the workforce as a whole. It is also worth bearing in mind any particular sensitivities that may be prevalent within the workforce that could be offended by a party held in a particular venue (i.e. casino) or with a specific theme.

The festive period is a whirlwind of lunches, get-togethers and ultimately, the work Christmas party. This can be a troublesome time for employers as they struggle to gauge a balancing act between Mr Christmas and Scrooge.

The organising and planning of the Christmas party can be utterly stressful trying to arrange something that suits the tastes of the majority. Of course you will never be able to please everyone but it is sensible to try and hold an event that is likely to be suitable for the workforce as a whole. It is also worth bearing in mind any particular sensitivities that may be prevalent within the workforce that could be offended by a party held in a particular venue (i.e. casino) or with a specific theme.

Ensure that when finalising the arrangements for the Christmas party everyone that is employed by the company makes it on to the invitee list. Those that are on leave, sickness absence, maternity leave or any other authorised leave should be given the opportunity to attend. There is nothing worse for staff morale than a colleague finding out about an event after it has happened through the work grapevine.

There is then the night in question. Be aware that employees at the Christmas party are still representing your business. Any drunken antics including damage to property or a physical altercation reflects poorly on you as an employer and may have an impact on the company’s reputation. Even though the employee, whilst at the Christmas party is not physically ‘at work’ their actions can still be dealt with and addressed by way of the company’s disciplinary procedure once they have returned to work.

It is of course a balancing act. On the one hand there are fun and frolics during these season of merriment and then there are those that sometimes take things a little too far. Just be cautious that people are treated consistently and are aware of the potential consequences of bringing the business into disrepute.

Employers often find a heightened level of absence the day after the Christmas party if it falls on between Monday to Thursday. If staff do not think they will be able to come to work the following then they should book pre-approved annual leave. If people suddenly state they are too unwell to attend work and you believe this not to be the case then this can be dealt with under the disciplinary policy.

Ensure that your employees are aware of the consequences of any unacceptable behaviour. The Christmas party can be an optimum opportunity for employees to get together as a collective and get to know each other outside the workplace.

If you have any concerns about employment related issues during the festive period or anything employment law related, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Awards and Accolades

  • image awards
  • image awards
  • image awards
  • image awards
  • image awards