In the party mood

Wilson Browne

1st October 2017

Legal Briefing

Wilson Browne

By Jennie Jahina
Head of Employment
Wilson Browne
WITH the summer holidays but a distant memory and the days shortening, increasingly thoughts are turning to the next big event in the calendar - Christmas. And the staff Christmas party!
For many organisations, party planning is well under way with venues booked and menus chosen. However, and without wishing to sound like a party pooper, festive frolics can sadly cost the unprepared.
But before you decide that Christmas, or at least the Christmas party, should be cancelled Grinch-style, here's a quick guide to a few simple dos and don'ts for ensuring your organisation's party anecdotes are the subject of water cooler conversations for the right reasons.
Don't assume
Just because a work event is out of hours, off site, organised by staff as opposed to management does not necessarily mean the organisation has no responsibility for unlawful acts that take place at the event.
Do communicate
Prior to the event, it's prudent to send a global communication to all reminding them they are representing the organisation despite the event being off site and/or out of working hours, and that the organisation's policies apply. Include in the reminder that, unless they have obtained prior authorisation for leave, staff's attendance at work is expected on their next working day.
Don't discriminate
Sounds obvious but organisations should consciously ensure that all staff members are invited and ensure the menus cater for all dietary requirements. Likewise, if invites are extended to 'plus one', use references such as 'partners'.
Do take allegations seriously
Regardless of the circumstances as they first appear, if an allegation of unacceptable behaviour is made, do take the allegation seriously and handle it as you would if the allegation arose during normal working time. Investigations should be thorough and appropriate procedures followed.
Following this guide should leave you with simple worries such as choice of outfit and enjoying the event itself! Cheers!
For more advice on this and other employment law related issues, contact Jennie Jahina on 01604 876697.

Wilson Browne