The Christmas Party – Reward or Regret?
The Christmas party is often a highlight of the year, where employees can put on their cheesy Christmas jumpers & be rewarded for their hard work throughout the year. A Christmas party is an extension of the workplace & employers are likely to be deemed liable for the actions of the employees. Nearly everyone can recall a story where the mixture of alcohol, relaxed inhibitions & the disregard for normal conduct in the workplace has left someone embarrassed the morning after & at risk of disciplinary action.
Pre-party Communications: aside from the venue, date & dress code, employees should be reminded that certain standards of conduct are expected to ensure everyone has a good time. Employees should be reminded that any inappropriate behaviour may lead to disciplinary action.
Alcohol: if you decide to provide free alcohol, you may not be entitled to hold employees accountable for any resultant inappropriate drunken behaviour. It is important to ensure non-alcoholic drinks are available to those who don’t drink due to religious reasons; their age or personal preference.
Social Media: It is highly likely that pictures will end up on social media & cases in relation to this have steadily increased over the years. You should ensure that employees know the rules regarding the use of social media in relation to work related events.
Don’t discriminate: Certain religions don’t celebrate Christmas and some employees may not want to attend, so you should ensure that you do not put undue pressure on employees; it is their choice.
Beware the aftermath: Christmas parties often lead to office romances & ‘gossip’ of what happened. You need to be clear on your stance to office romances. Harassment can be physical or verbal – an employee may see their light-hearted & good nature comment be misconstrued by another.
Policy perfect: finally, you should ensure that your policies are up to date & that employees are reminded of their terms. If you need any assistance, please let Horizon HR Solutions know.
Having said all this, we really don’t support the Christmas party becoming a bland and boring affair. With the right communication and policy structure in place, employers can provide an enjoyable experience without adding ‘disciplinary investigations’ to the New Year ‘to do’ list.
If you need any support for the above or any other HR requirements,
Horizon HR Solutions would be happy to help!