Find out how employers can handle workplace misconduct at the staff Christmas party

Donâ??t let the staff Christmas party leave you with a legal hangover


The season of the staff Christmas parties has finally arrived. Yet whilst employees are ready to be merry, employers will be wary.

A staff Christmas party can be a great chance for employers to recognise their employeesâ?? achievements and to develop team building and staff morale.

However, whilst many see the staff Christmas party as a time to finally relax and have fun, employers could find themselves dealing with the fallout.

Handling misconduct outside the workplace

At LawforEmployers, we regularly advise clients on handling misconduct in the workplace. Yet even when misconduct takes place outside of work, an employer may have the right to take disciplinary action if the misconduct action could have an impact on the working situation.

This can be seen in a decision taken by the employment tribunal where an employee was dismissed after assaulting a colleague on the way home from a Christmas party.

The employment tribunal ruled that as the company was small and close contact was unavoidable, the employer had acted fairly in dismissing the assailant for gross misconduct.

Unfortunately where alcohol is present there is always a risk of inappropriate behaviour which may require an employer having to take some sort of action. This could vary from relatively run of the mill unauthorised absence to more serious allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment.

If you are faced with handling workplace misconduct after a work party, LawforEmployers can provide specialist advice and support.

For a free consultation with an employment law solicitor, call us on 01282 695 400.

Helping to prevent the staff Christmas party fallout

At LawforEmployers, we would advise employers to take the following pre-emptive steps to reduce the risk of having to handle any workplace misconduct after a staff Christmas party.

Donâ??t discriminate

  • Consider the needs of all employees when organising Christmas parties. This may include the time of the party, providing non-alcoholic drinks, providing food to comply with religious and cultural requirements, and any physical assistance which may be required for any disabled employees.

Inform employees of their responsibilities

  • Inform all employees that they remain subject to the companyâ??s rules and procedures as they are attending a work event
  • Inform employees that any unacceptable behaviour may be dealt with in accordance with the company disciplinary procedure.
  • Ensure all employees have received a copy of the Employee/Staff Handbook and are familiar with all policies relating to anti-harassment and bullying, discrimination and social media.

Ensure managers understand their responsibilities

  • Remind all managers of the responsibility of their position at the event. They should avoid any discussions with employees regarding salary increases or career progression.
  • Nominate a company manager to avoid alcohol in order to monitor proceedings. The same person could also be nominated to take photos of the event.
  • Consider providing transport to and from the event for employees. This will reduce the likelihood of drink-driving, ensuring every gets home safely.

If any incidents of inappropriate behaviour do arise during the Christmas party, an employer should take swift action on the return to work.

By seeking legal advice, you will be able to guarantee that any action you take is legally complaint. This can avoid costly claims in the event that action needs to be taken against an employee.

Contact Law for Employers today

For more information on how we can help you deal with any misconduct in the workplace, or at work events, contact our expert employment law team today.

If you’d like to talk to one of our employment law experts today, call us now on 01282 695 400.

Or, you can book a free consultation with a member of our team by completing our quick online contact form.