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Lawgistics Christmas party survival guide for employers

That’s the last thing we would want to do but with work related parties employer and employee are still within the work relationship and while no one wants to spoil the fun it’s no bad thing to give you some thought to not letting things get out of hand.

1. When to have the party?

A strange question but remember that having an event on a Friday night might exclude Jewish employees.

Lunchtime events are more favourable to employees with childcare difficulties.

2. What to have to eat and drink?

Again certain religious beliefs exclude consumption of meats and specifically pork/beef.

Cater for such eventualities by asking about special dietary requirements.

Alcohol is forbidden by certain religions and so have plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives.

This is advantageous in any event to cater for drivers and anyone responsible enough to slow down on alcohol consumption to avoid getting drunk.

The offer of a free bar with unlimited drinks is not a good idea.

3. Policy can be good insurance.

If you have a policy on parties then now is a good time to remind employees of it and to update it if it doesn’t cater for all eventualities.

If you haven’t, then draw one up or at least circulate some guidance to employees to let them know what standards are expected of them.

Moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable but drunkenness, fighting, illegal use of drugs and inappropriate language/behaviour is not.

Harassment whether on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, religion or age is illegal. It has been held that an employers’ failure to prevent harassment to an employee by a third party can lead to criminal proceedings.

It is therefore a good plan to make partners and friends aware of the policy too.

4. Don’t assume partners are of the opposite sex.

If partners are invited ensure partners of any gender are included.

5. Who’s gonna take you home?

Again advise employees about drinking and driving. In some cases you may be able to provide a coach but, if not, at least give some contact numbers for local taxi firms.

6. As the boss – delegate!

Consider appointing certain people eg managers to keep an eye on how things are developing. It is generally just one or two who are prone to over-perform in some way or other and practical intervention by a manager, say, may diffuse anything more serious happening.

7. The morning after!

Unauthorised absence can be considered a disciplinary matter. A reminder beforehand is no bad thing.

Unless you have firm evidence that the employee is lying, then providing they ring in sick under the normal rules then there is little more can be done.

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