Don’t let the Christmas party end in tears

The Christmas party is in danger of leaving you with a litigation headache, small employers are being advised.

Don't let the Christmas party end in tears

As the festive season gets into full swing, The Forum of Private Business is highlighting the potential pitfalls of Christmas – involving everything from health and safety risks to staff rotas.

But it says that, with their mix of drink and high spirits, Christmas parties are one of the main potential sources of problems, and it is providing a number of pointers to business owners wanting to comply with workplace legislation.

Avoid pressurising staff to attend the Christmas party, it says: they may not want to due to factors such as faith or abstinence from drink.

Let party-goers know in advance that acceptable standards of behaviour are expected, even if the party is being held away from the workplace, and watch out for drug use: it is an offence for an employer to permit or ignore drug use on their premises.

Make it clear to staff if they are expected to turn up for work as normal the following day, and lead by example: senior managers are more likely to call in sick the day after the party than junior staff members.

Keep it clean and do not let the tipple flow too freely, the FPB advises: saucy gifts and games could lead down the path to a tribunal, while too much alcohol could spark arguments and fights.

Finally, business owners should also remember to act professionally when socialising with staff and not let anything slip that they would not in the workplace.

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