Remind Staff of Acceptable Christmas Party Behaviour, warn Business Groups

Businesses can reduce the risk of tribunal claims in the New Year by reminding staff about acceptable behaviour ahead of workplace Christmas parties, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has said.

FPB spokesman, Chris Gorman, said that small business owners should lay down ground rules now to prevent disputes and potential tribunal cases.

“Many owner-managers don’t realise, but a lot of the legislation which they have to adhere to during the working day applies just as equally to Christmas parties, and ignoring it could lead to costly and time-consuming legal issues.”

“Suggestive gifts and party games could easily lead down the dangerous path to a tribunal, while hard drinking could spark arguments and fights, leaving employers with tricky disciplinary issues to deal with long after the office decorations have been taken down.”

Chartered Management Institute spokesman, Mike Petrook, said that inappropriate comments made by staff under the influence of alcohol should be taken as seriously as those made in the workplace.

“Employers should point staff towards their discipline and grievance policy and make sure they are aware that as it is a work event, the same rules apply.”

Petrook added that businesses holding their event in a public venue should make staff aware that they are representing the firm.

“Business owners should make sure staff know that their behaviour could damage the firm’s reputation if they stray out of line.”

However, Petrook said that employers should not be too heavy-handed with their warnings.

“The Christmas party is supposed to reward staff for their hard work, and business owners should stress that before laying down the law. Employers should send out an informal email or have an informal meeting reminding staff about the party, but don’t take too much of a ‘teacher tone’.”

Remind Staff of Acceptable Christmas Party Behaviour, warn Business Groups

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