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Read more articles in: Amanda Hyam, News

Three tips to avoid a post-Christmas party HR hangover

All too often, employers wake up with a headache the day after the annual Christmas party – not because of overindulgence but as a result of incidents between employees.

Yet skipping the annual do all together is unlikely to engender goodwill amongst employees.

So what can you do to minimise the chances of incidents at the party that could impact on the workplace?

Here, Amanda Hyam, a Senior Associate and employment law specialist with Mander Hadley explains how employers can avoid the headache of dealing with Christmas party grievances:

Let employees know that the event is considered an extension of the workplace

Employment Tribunals will consider a Christmas party arranged by an employer to be an extension of the workplace. Any incidents that take place will be treated as though they had taken place at the workplace in the course of normal business.

Importantly, this includes the possibility of the employer being found to be vicariously liable for the actions of one employee towards another during the party. This can even apply to any unofficial afterparty if the Tribunal considers it to be an extension of the event arranged by the employer.

A friendly reminder to employees will make sure everyone is clear that the same disciplinary standards apply to parties as to the workplace.

Ensure the party is inclusive

All employees or members of the particular team or division should be invited to the party, including those on parental leave and part-time workers who wouldn’t normally work on the day of the party.

You should ensure that different dietary requirements are catered for and that there are non-alcoholic drinks available.

This will reduce the risk of the party being cited as evidence in relation to any discrimination claims.

Consider social media

The ability for anyone to broadcast anything to thousands of people in an instant on social media means it can be a real hazard at the Christmas party.

Content posted to social media during the party that could show the organisation or individual employees in a bad light can cause significant reputational damage.

This is an example of where a robust social media policy can come into its own, setting clear boundaries about what can be posted on social media in relation to the organisation. It will also assist with taking disciplinary action where inappropriate content is published.

If you are planning a Christmas party and are concerned about the business risks, please get in touch with our expert employment law team.

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