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Can my company be sued after a Christmas Party?

With Christmas around the corner it is party time! HR2all recommends that you follow the tips below to avoid finding you in an Employment Tribunal the next day.

The key to a successful party is to set out clear guidelines of unacceptable behaviour such as drug taking, excessive drunkenness, harassment or violence. Staff may take the view that as a party is outside working hours, and possibly off company premises, what they do is none of the company’s business and lies outside everyday company policy. Pre-empt any issues by outlining what is considered unacceptable behaviour before the event. Make it clear that any display of these activities will be dealt with under the company’s disciplinary procedure, which may include dismissal.

You will want to strike a balance between killing the party altogether and turning a blind eye to anything that goes on. You should also make it clear that staff absence will not be tolerated the morning after the night before. By putting firm, but fair procedures in place employers and employees alike will be able to wind down during the Christmas festivities without even one mention of Scrooge.

Top tips for a stress free Christmas party:
  1. Make sure you have sound disciplinary procedures in place at the outset.
  2. Highlight to staff that the company’s disciplinary procedure still applies during social occasions.
  3. Issue a clear statement before the party outlining unacceptable behaviour such as excessive drinking, taking drugs or violence.
  4. Consider limiting the volume of alcohol available.
  5. Always take a complaint about harassment seriously and deal with it properly.
  6. Make it clear that staff are expected to be fit to attend work the next day.
  7. If possible, hold the party on the eve of a non-working day.
  8. Provide transport to and from the party – remind staff not to drink and drive.
  9. Consider your venue carefully and avoid parties ‘at home’.
  10. Follow up any incidents with an interview and, if necessary, disciplinary action.
  11. Try to strike a balance between being a party pooper and turning a blind eye.
  12. Have a happy Christmas!
Have great parties


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