An Employers HR Nightmare - The Office Party

It's that time of year where everyone begins to get into the festive spirit.  Here’s how it can, from a HR perspective, become an employers worst nightmare. Here's our top 5 things to be cautious of...

1.    Be Crystal Clear in your policies

So as to save any confusion, make you’re your staff handbooks are up to date and policies relating to the areas below are clearly covered. This saves a lot of hassle at a later date because employees then know what you expect of them and in return what they can expect from you.

2.    Alcohol and Drugs

Yes everyone likes to have a good time and be ‘Merry and Bright’ but if your employees have to drive vehicles, they cannot be over the legal limit the following morning. Many, many, people forget this fact and it can have severe consequences to them as an individual and also you as their employer, as you are liable for their actions when they are acting in the course of their employment.

3.    Office Party ‘Banter’

People tend to let their hair down a little at the office Christmas party, but they should still remember that this is a working environment. So employees telling each other how they really feel about one another in ‘banter’ or playing office pranks, may be misconstrued. As such any grievances you receive should always be dealt with, as it is still your responsibility to do so.

This can also extend to social media, so open confessions all over Facebook or inappropriate photos on Twitter will also have to be dealt with accordingly.

4.    Sore heads the next day!

Employees who fail to turn in after a night on the town, whether it be after your own Christmas party, or another, is a disciplinary offence. Please remember to apply the same rules to all, to avoid any discrimination claims.

5.    Severe weather – what to do

You owe a duty of care to your staff and therefore be careful about insisting that they come into work in a snow storm! However employees sometimes use slightly poor weather as an excuse to have a ‘duvet day’, there has to be a balance. Parents of children, whose schools or nurseries close due to snow should be granted Parental Leave (which can be without pay unless your contracts state otherwise).


Published: 08 Dec 2014


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(cAse SeNSItivE!)

Nicola Porter - Lawgistics Ltd (09/12/2014)
Ah yes Steve, office punch ups are certainly a NO, NO... sounds like you had a real handful there. Glad to here it was resolved in the end.
stevie-baby (09/12/2014)
Hi Nicola! You didn't mention the dreaded staff punch-up! Happened to me one year with 2 employees needing hospital treatment, the police involvement made life a lot more complicated OMG it was a total nightmare and wasted so much management time As I recall it was about May before everything was resolved!! Merry Xmas

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