Fairfield HR

On the Christmas Nice or Naughty List!?

T’was 8am the Monday after the ‘Works Christmas Do’ and all through the office not a worker was stirring…?

Everyone loves a good ‘Christmas Do’! I’ve certainly graced the boozy streets of Leeds before in December!Aaaand let’s face it… if ever there is going to be some dicey shenanigans, the chances of it happening on this night in particular are pretty high! So, how do we navigate alcohol-induced absences, inebriated inhibitions flying away and potentially offended or even (god forbid)injured employees?

Has someone caused upset or damage at the venue? Has an employee drunkenly overstepped the mark with another, and you have a full-force grievance on your desk?

Can you plan/account for this? Or do you simply have to mop up the aftermath every time?

The important point to note here is according to the Equality Act 2010, employers are liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees for any event that is organised by the company. Unless you can evidence the company’s proactive commitment to minimise or prevent any incidents.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Perhaps you can request that a respected manager or member of HR remains sober, so they can be lucid and mindful of anything that might be going down. More and more people are choosing to be tee total these days anyway, so this might be easier than you think. Obviously, whomever this is, must be in agreement and happy to do this as being forced to do it is rather unfair!
  • Make sure food is part of the evening’s proceedings to help soak up the alcohol.
  • Maybe consider limiting the “free” bar as well. Workers are more likely to go a little extra if the alcohol is literally “free”-flowing!
  • Pre-book transport for people to go home at the end of the event. If they wish to go on to somewhere else afterwards of their own accord, then of course, it’s up to them, but they need to be aware they are still accountable for their actions after the event or on their way home, as although it’s out of work time, it is still an event organised by the business.
  • Set the expectations for the following working day. Make sure people are aware of their responsibility to still turn up and perform their role, or take a day of annual leave in advance.
  • You can also set the expectations, perhaps on an email prior to the event of what is/isn’t acceptable/unacceptable behaviour, gently reminding employees that there will be consequences if they do not adhere to the company’s ideals.
  • Treat any complaints/grievances with the respect they deserve and work to resolve quickly with a proper and thorough investigation.
  • You may have a social media policy in place already (if not, let me know I can draft one for you), so, it may be worth reminding employees of this, and/or laying some ground rules for posting pictures/videos etc.

Perhaps you’re thinking it’d be easier to not bother with all the fuss and not provide a Christmas party at all! But, I’d encourage you to think of the company culture, the morale and bringing your teams closer together. A Christmas do is a sure-fire way to show appreciation as a company.

So… with the festive season around the corner. Be safe, be responsible, but definitely let your hair down and have some fun!

One more note I’ll add. Whilst Christmas can be a fun and exciting time of year, it can also be quite upsetting to some individuals for many reasons. Keep checking in with your staff around this time. You may just need to support someone unexpectedly. Give me a call if you need any advice on this and remember also that Samaritans are there 24/7 if you, or someone else really needs some help and support.


Call: 116 123

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