The company Christmas party is considered a time to show appreciation and recognition for the contribution and hard work from staff during the year. However they can be highly charged get togethers especially when there is alcohol or other substances involved and people feel it is a chance to let their hair down. But it is important to remember that the same policies, procedures and legal recourse for employees that apply in the office apply to the Christmas party.
As quick look at a few do’s and don’ts
- Ensure staff are familiar with the Equality statement for the company and understand the company policy on Prevention of harassment, bullying and sexual harassment. A problem that arises at a Christmas party can go all the way to the Employment Appeals Tribunal or Equality Tribunal.
- Develop and communicate a policy on social events for the company so that staff understand their responsibility and policies that apply even while at the Christmas Party.
- Communicate the company policy on social media and how company events should or should not be represented on the social medial sites.
- Employers have a duty of care towards their employees and therefore should put measures in place to ensure employees don’t drink and drive and that they get home safely.
- If the Christmas party is mid-week and staff are expected in work the next day, employers should provide plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food and explain to staff the situation should they not turn up or turn up late for work the next day, or the company position attending for work under the influence of alcohol or other substances, there are health and safety issues that should be considered also.
- Company or department drinking at lunch time may be more prevalent at this time of year. Consuming alcohol shouldn’t be encouraged or facilitated by the company but be careful if there is a perceived acceptance of this type of behaviour by some managers.
If employers have policies and procedures in place which provide guidance and explain clearly the company position on certain matters, then it is less likely that a problem will arise but if it does, everyone will know the most appropriate manner to deal with it.