Smart employers take precautions when planning the work Christmas party, to prevent being left faced with post-party legal and HR issues.
It is important that employers inform their employees that normal disciplinary procedures will apply for any forms of misconduct at the Christmas party.
For serious matters, formal action should be taken as soon as possible and not simply left to deal with in the New Year.
Here are some simple steps that an employer can take to ensure the Christmas party runs smoothly:
Employers need to communicate the company’s code of conduct prior to the holiday season. This may require reminding employees what is appropriate and what isn’t in terms of Kris Kringle presents, or fancy dress themes.
Employers can also be liable for any form of sexual or emotional harassment an employee is subject to, so it is important to discuss the company’s policies and procedures in regards to this prior to the party.
Be responsible with alcohol
Ensure that there is enough non-alcoholic drinks and food available to guests. Companies are also responsible for the safety of employees after they leave the party, so it is a good idea to have sober people present to act as supervisors.
Employers should consider organising safe travel arrangements for employees, such as a mini bus or taxi.
Keep safety in mind
Employers can be held liable for any injuries staff members receive at the Christmas party, so it is important to assess the venue beforehand to identify any safety hazards. This involves arranging the furniture to ensure it is not a tripping hazard or an obstruction to any walkways.