Question: Two of our employees have been flirting at work and they are clearly very excited about this week’s forthcoming Christmas party. Both are bringing their respective partners and we as the employers are concerned that they might get a little drunk and things could potentially get out of hand. As this event takes place “out of hours”, as employers, surely we aren’t liable for any potential problems arising out of the situation?
Answer: Yes you are liable as the employer. There have been a raft of recent cases covering this very subject. In short, if this event has been organised by the employer then the employer is liable for any fallout that may happen in the workplace.
In order to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them at the party, then Scrooge (aka Donna) here at Sekoya suggests employers warn their employees of the following:
1. That any inappropriate behaviour at the party will be dealt with as a disciplinary offence (as if it took place in the workplace etc).
2. That inappropriate Secret Santa gifts that could cause offence could amount to discrimination.
3. That encouraging staff to drink to ensure team bonding is not acceptable.
4. That innuendo or recalling of exploits on social media can lead to disputes in the workplace and damages the good reputation of the employer. In extreme circumstances it could also be seen as discrimination.
5. That it is advisable that employees do not discuss religious or philosophical beliefs around the dinner table.
6. That employees should ensure that they have a way to get home at the end of the evening that doesn’t involve driving either their own or a company car if they have been drinking alcohol.
On a lighter note, please enjoy your staff party and hopefully everyone has a wonderful time, and comes back to work in one piece!
Bah Humbug (not really !) 🎄