How to Avoid Your Christmas Party Hangover Lasting Until the New Year
For many the Christmas party is the highlight of the work social calendar. Although they are usually not held in the office and take place outside of office hours, for employment law purposes they are still considered as ‘work’.
A free supply of alcohol combined with high spirits can result in incidents such as drunk and disorderly behaviour, disagreements among employees or damage to the venue occurring.
In such circumstances, despite not taking place in the office, an employer has the right to discipline or dismiss an employee for inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas party. But you should wait until you are back in the office (and sober!) before taking any action. Immediate concerns can be resolved by asking the employee concerned to leave the party and go home to avoid any further incidents occurring.
It is always a good idea to ensure that employees are aware of the standards of behaviour expected of them in advance of the Christmas party. Other practical steps that could be taken to minimise the risk of issues arising include arranging transportation to and from the event and a plentiful supply of food and non-alcoholic beverages to prevent alcohol fuelled incidents occurring. Problems may also arise the morning after if employees are feeling worse for wear and fail to attend work. In such circumstances employers will usually have the right to require employee’s to take any time off unpaid and may also take disciplinary action for non-attendance.
Employers should also ensure that the party caters for those members of staff who do not consume alcohol or who have certain dietary requirements, in order to prevent complaints of discrimination.
Putting these measures in place at the same time as a planning a fabulous event can go a long way to preventing employment law problems arising in the New Year, ensuring that an enjoyable time can be had by all.