Consensus HR

Your outsourced HR department.

Our annual 10 HR Christmas Tips – Blog1 of 2

Published in Employment Law

Heres our first blog of our annual 10 HR tips for your business over Christmas.

ENSURE THAT YOUR BUSINESS IS PREPARED FOR THE HR CHALLENGES DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON.

Workplace Christmas parties bring up issues of conduct and discrimination. For example, employees may misbehave, or employers may have to make adjustments to Christmas parties for employees of different religions.

Holiday issues also commonly arise at this time. Annual leave requests can be concentrated around the same days, with employers’ plans to open their business during bank holidays often conflicting with employees’ personal plans.

With Christmas approaching fast, we have ten tips which offer valuable advice for employers and here are the first five with five more next week:

1 – EMPLOYERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON?

Managers should familiarise themselves with their employer’s policy on Christmas parties or work-related social events.

Additionally, employers should consider the option of issuing a statement to employees in advance of a Christmas party or similar work-related event.

This statement can remind employees of conduct matters, including the dangers of excess alcohol consumption, and behaviours that could be viewed as harassment.

2 – DO EMPLOYERS REALLY NEED A POLICY ON WORKPLACE SOCIAL EVENTS?

Yes. Employers should maintain a policy because they have a duty of care towards staff, and as a matter of good practice.

The Equality Act 2010 makes employers liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees in the course of employment, unless they can show that they took reasonable steps to prevent such acts.

3 – IS AN EMPLOYER RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENS AT A CHRISTMAS PARTY?

It is prudent to assume that an employer will be liable. Legislation refers to the term “in the course of employment”.

4 –  CAN EMPLOYEES BE DISCIPLINED FOR MISCONDUCT AFTER A CHRISTMAS PARTY?

Yes, if the incident is sufficiently closely connected to work to have had an impact on the working situation.  For further information click here

5 –  IS IT OKAY TO OFFER A FREE BAR AT A CHRISTMAS PARTY?

A free bar will undoubtedly be a morale booster for staff, but employers need to be aware of the dangers of providing an unlimited free bar.

Matthew from Consensus HR comments: “In our experience, Christmas brings a range of HR challenges that employers need to prepare for in order to avoid potential problems but should not mean everyone not having fun.“

If you have any HR concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us and may we take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year (Although a little early – Late November!!)