Hannah Roberts
Paralegal
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Date Published:10 Mar 2016 Last Updated:10 Apr 2021

Top tips to survive the office Christmas party

Employment Law Advice

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time for high spirits, parties and celebration. Businesses will be holding Christmas parties to reward their staff for their hard work throughout the year where staff can socialise, relax and have fun!

Even at the Christmas party employers remain liable for the acts of their employees so to make sure the event is enjoyable for all involved, here are some top tips to help your party run as smoothly as possible:-

Before the party

  1. Invite every member of staff including those, for example, on maternity leave or sickness absence.
  2. Email all staff prior to the Christmas party to include:-
    • Standards of conduct and possible sanctions;
    • Exactly what behaviour will not be tolerated i.e. aggressive/abusive behaviour or “pulling a sickie” the following day;
    • The company’s grievance and disciplinary procedures;
    • Reminding the employees to treat each other with respect;
    • Warning that any behaviour that could damage the company’s reputation will be dealt with accordingly.
  3. If customers/clients are in attendance, make staff aware of the need to behave appropriately.
  4. Do not pressurise people to attend as this may be due to personal, cultural or religious reasons.
  5. Set social media rules; seek company approval before posting or tagging any photos or videos on social media.
  6. Ensure the venue is accessible for any disabled attendees.

At the party

  1. Lead by example.
  2. Keep HR matters in the office i.e. do not discuss performance or pay rises with staff.
  3. Have non-alcoholic drinks and suitable food to cater for religious and cultural preferences.
  4. Be aware of any underage staff who should not be consuming alcohol.
  5. Consider issuing drinks tokens instead of a free bar to encourage moderation.
  6. Be aware of your duty of care; arrange for employees to get home safely.

Back in the office

  1. Deal with any complaints/grievances seriously and promptly.
  2. Act consistently and ensure the same rules apply to all.
  3. If you suspect an employee has “pulled a sickie” investigate and make sure this is the case before taking any action.

If you require any advice, please contact the employment department at employment@ellisjones.co.uk.