Christmas parties are a great opportunity for colleagues to mingle, socialise and enjoy a festive drink or two.
But while they can be a great way to boost morale and thank employees for their efforts, they are also the cause of many HR stresses!
Remember that you can still be held responsible for employees’ actions at Christmas parties, even if they aren’t on your premises.
Legislation states employers are liable for actions of employees ‘in the course of employment’ and the workplace Christmas party has been established in many legal cases to be ‘an extension of the workplace’ and so somewhere where employers have a duty to manage conduct.
Employees too, should be aware that they can be held accountable for their behaviour. If an employee’s behaviour is severe enough, you could bring disciplinary action, if this is the case you would need to prove that the action will impact on the working situation.
The day after the Christmas party, any absences or lateness should be dealt with in the same way you would deal with incidents at any other time of the year, you should try not to be any harsher, or more lenient in your treatment, as this could raise questions of unfairness.
To avoid any Christmas conduct issues, you should make your expectations clear to employees, possibly through an internal email or policy document.
While this doesn’t have to be draconian or formal, a simple note reminding employees that during a Christmas party they will be viewed as ambassadors for the organisation can be very effective.
Reiterate to employees that, while they are encouraged to socialise and have a good time, you still expect them to behave respectfully.
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