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Don't let employment tribunals be your biggest Christmas hangover!

As Santa prepares his reindeer for their trip of the year, many of you are preparing for your companies festive celebrations.  These events provide an excellent opportunity to congratulate staff for their achievements and to recognise employees’ efforts during another difficult year for business.

Whilst the majority of events will go smoothly and everyone involved will have a good time, employers need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of the party season.

An average tribunal cost awarded for discrimination is £15,059, that is not the type of Christmas present you want to receive.

7 Top tips for managing the festivities:

  • Managers should set a good example, your company’s reputation is on the line.
  • Remind your employees that when they are at a company event their conduct and behaviour is also representative of the company.
  • Keep in mind the diversity of your workforce, ensure all staff feel welcome at your event.
  • Plan your event considering what is most convenient to the majority of attendees. Remember employees with disabilities and their access needs.
  • In the case of a lunchtime event, be clear whether a return to work is expected and therefore, whether the consumption of alcohol is acceptable.
  • At events where alcohol is provided, make every effort to prevent drink driving by organising transport home.
  • Ensure that the content of any professional entertainment is appropriate and not offensive to the audience.
  • Avoid alcohol fuelled discussions with employees about pay and promotions that you may find yourself being held to in the future.

Employment legislation is there to protect employees from discrimination or unfair treatment. Employers need to ensure that they protect themselves from claims relating to harassment or bullying.

It is important to leave staff in no doubt as to what is and is not acceptable behaviour. Most importantly, make sure you follow a fair disciplinary process with those who behave inappropriately.

By choosing an appropriate venue, entertainment, moderating alcohol consumption and taking into consideration the needs of the employer and employee, your event will be a big success.

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