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Office Christmas Parties? Bah Humbug!

Legal firm, DAS Law , has issued a timely festive blog. The aim is to remind employers and employees alike that whilst the office Christmas party is an opportunity for work colleagues to relax and have a few drinks, it can also be a minefield.

Written by Paul Brown on 14th December 2018

Office Christmas Parties?  Bah Humbug!

Whether held at the office, or at a local establishment, the party is essentially an extension of the workplace and the usual rules apply.  Employers and employees need to conduct themselves appropriately, or risk serious consequences including summary dismissal.

Christmas party indiscretions are often alcohol-related and can include subordination, harassment, damage to company property and even fighting between colleagues. Any of which are likely to lead to a disciplinary investigation.

In addition, a relatively new risk associated with office Christmas party concerns include inappropriate photographs or videos being taken, with the possibility that they are shared on social media. This introduces a raft of ownership and copyright issues and complications around the prevention of publication and sharing of such images.

Office Christmas parties should be an opportunity for employees to mix with their colleagues and relax in a social setting. However, it should be remembered that those attending are not "off-duty”.




Here are some suggestions from DAS Law, to help ensure an enjoyable Christmas party

Employers should:

·         Invite all employees to the party even if they may be absent through sickness, maternity or paternity leave;

·         Remind employees of the company’s expectations and be clear on what is considered as inappropriate behaviour;

·         Control the amount of free alcohol while also ensuring food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided;

·         Be prepared to deal with any inappropriate behaviour in line with company policy and be consistent in how you apply the policy;

·         Avoid discussions about career prospects or remuneration with employees;

·         Consider nominating a member of management to refrain from alcohol at the event in order to deal with any emergencies or incidents that arise.

Employees shouldn’t:

·         Forget they are effectively still ‘at work’, so conduct themselves accordingly;

·         Drink too much so that they do not know what they are doing;

·         Get involved in office gossip or office ‘banter’ which could be offensive;

·         Attempt to negotiate a pay rise with their manager;

·         Make any unwelcome advances;

·         Become violent or aggressive;


On behalf of Franklands Insurance & Risk Management may we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and hope you have an enjoyable and uneventful Christmas Party.



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