Monday, 31 October 2011

All you want for Christmas...

Staff Christmas parties could bring a whole host of unwanted festive gifts for Shropshire employers.

Lisa Batchelor, from our Employment team, said after such a difficult year, many employers would already have planned to reward their staff with a Christmas get-together.

"But such work-related social events can lead to all kinds of problems unless you make it clear in advance just what you expect from your employees. Staff who are in the festive spirit may well be tempted to drink too much and this can lead to arguments, inappropriate behaviour, and even violence.

"Some staff may also begin telling offensive jokes or harassing other guests - and it's not just men who are capable of such antics, women can be just as guilty."

Lisa said the difficulty was that is someone attended a function linked to their employment, the employer could be held responsible for their actions.

"So without being a killjoy before the festivities have even started, it makes sense to spell out to all employees what type of behaviour is expected of them at the event.

"Write out a statement explaining that misconduct will be treated seriously and that you will take disciplinary action if it occurs. And when it comes to something that could be taken as gross misconduct, such as fighting with a colleague or the misuse of illegal drugs, remind them this could lead to them losing their job altogether."

She said partners or guests who attended would also be expected to behave well, and if they acted badly, employers should not hesitate to ask them to leave.

"No-one wants to put a dampener on the festivities, but equally, as the employer, you must protect yourself and your business from out-of-control employees who go too far."