Tip of the Week: The Christmas Party

Employer’s Risks

At Canavan Byrne /CB Associates we help other businesses in Ireland with their HR issues. During the Festive Season, we frequently receive requests for help from employers dealing with Christmas HR problems. The Christmas party is a good opportunity to thank staff for their support during the year gone by and to relax with colleagues outside the work environment. From an HR point of view, it is important to take some preparatory steps to ensure that the night goes smoothly and without further issues.

Behaviour at work

While many Christmas parties will take place off-premises, it is important to note that your organisation could still be liable for the effects of any misconduct or harm that is suffered off-site or out of hours. As the Christmas party is deemed to be an extension of the workplace, you must take some precautions to avoid liability for any employee misconduct. Employers could be liable for employee misconduct such as harassment, bullying, violence or drunken misconduct. To avoid it, organisations must ensure that they take all reasonable steps to prevent such conduct. At a minimum, a reminder should be sent to employees confirming that any misconduct such as drug use, harassment, excessive alcohol consumption or violence will lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Social media

Not much happens in the modern world that is not recorded on a mobile phone. If an inappropriate incident occurs at your Christmas party and employees share their videos with their friends, you may have to deal with unwanted negative publicity. Reminding staff about the appropriate use of social media should also form part of Christmas party preparations.

Attendance and accessibility

Don’t make attendance compulsory. If employees do not want to go to the Christmas party, you shouldn’t put pressure on them to attend. Equally, you should investigate the venue to ensure that all your employees’ disability, religious and dietary requirements are catered for, and everyone feels welcome. With a little forward planning, your Christmas party will be a fun event for everyone.

We can provide further information and advice on:

  • How to manage behaviour at social events.
  • Workplace Investigations
  • Mediation

And Templates or Tailor-make policies writing services:

  • Employee Code of Conduct
  • Behaviour at work-related social events policy
  • Anti Bullying Policy

If you would like more information about our services
 or if we can help you with any questions or queries,
please call us at:
(+353) 1-623-5908 or email us at eys@canavanbyrne.ie.

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