So it’s nearly Christmas and thoughts turn towards the work Christmas party. You may be wanting to reward your staff with a free night out to thank them for all their hard work throughout the year. At the risk of sounding like an HR killjoy, it’s one to think very carefully about or it could quickly end up being a bit of a disciplinary nightmare.
The 2018 case of Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Limited held that the organisation was liable because the Managing Director of the firm punched an employee in the face during a works do. The case hinged on the fact that the company decided to pay for all drinks and taxis and therefore the Court of Appeal held that the perpetrator was asserting his authority as ‘the boss’ through the attack. Although this won’t be the case in every work Christmas do incident, it is wise to think in advance how such a situation can be avoided.
What should organisations do?
Well, as I said, I don’t want to come across as HR killjoy.
If you want to provide a Christmas party then by all means do so, but treat it as an extension of normal working practice. The following tips could help you to create a safer environment for all:
- If you complete annual Bullying and Harassment training as part of your Code of Conduct, think about adding an example of their actions at a social event. This way employees will start to think of social events as an extension of the workplace.
- Remind staff shortly before the event that they are expected to behave as if they were in the office and that normal disciplinary policies stand.
- Encourage people to have a good time but not at the expense of their, or others, Health and Safety.
- Think carefully about whether allowing unlimited alcohol at the event is appropriate.
By taking the above steps, you can demonstrate that you’ve managed the risks appropriately. So now all that remains is to make sure you enjoy your work Christmas do!
At Cornerstone Resources, we can help you to put policies in place that will help protect you. Simply call Rob on 07494 161169 or Nicci on 07908 875146 for a confidential no obligation chat. For our full range of services, click here