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Tis the season to be jolly – but not too jolly when it comes to the work Christmas party!

If you are anything like us, then you have either already had your work Christmas party or it’s nearly here and the workplace is full of chatter about who is sitting next to who, what people are wearing, and generally looking forward to a fun evening.

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Be warned ……..

But it’s worth everyone remembering that the Christmas Party is effectively an extension of the workplace and employers are likely to have the same legal responsibility for what happens during the Christmas party as they do during working hours at the office.  The main legal issues to consider include harassment and various other types of discrimination.  Broadly defined, harassment is any unwanted conduct that has the ability or effect of violating dignity or creating a hostile or intimidating environment, where the conduct occurs on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion, age or belief.

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Try not to be Scrooge

If you are the boss planning and attending the Christmas Party then you don’t want to be seen as the scrooge by dampening celebration plans with reminders of your company policies on discrimination, equal opportunities and disciplinary procedures – but you do have to somehow gain a balance.  So ensuring your policies are up to date and communicated effectively is the first step to being proactive.

Arrangements for the Christmas party should not inadvertently discriminate against any particular guests, such as those who have particular dietary requirements or religious or cultural beliefs, people who do not drink, or people with disabilities who may have difficulty accessing venues.  Make sure you consider all these elements in your plans to avoid any unnecessary issues arising.

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Appropriate Conduct – Setting an example

It is true that the Christmas Party seems like the best setting for you to be able to mingle with your staff/employees and relax after a year of hard work, however, just remember you are the boss.  With that position comes responsibility and the requirement to always set an example to the rest of your staff, so maybe now isn’t the time for you to be drinking large amounts of alcohol or jumping around the dance floor without a care in the world – save that for another time.

Instead, we would recommend keeping your ‘boss’ head firmly in place.  What is most important is that your team of staff enjoy themselves responsibly and safely.  Our top three key pieces of advice are as follows:

– Ensure they are all happy and catered for

– Make a point of circulating with EVERYONE throughout the evening

– Make the opportunity to congratulate staff on their achievements throughout the year

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Bow out gracefully

Once you have completed the top three tips above then we would also recommend that you bow out gracefully and leave the party to flow.  No one really wants their boss keeping an eye on them the whole time of the Christmas party.  As much as you may be a fully integrated member of your team you are still the boss!  The best Christmas parties always happen once the boss has left, and if you have ensured your policies on conduct are effective and communicated, then hopefully you won’t find yourself dealing with disciplinary investigations once the seasonal festivities are over.  But if you do …….feel free to get in touch for some expert HR advice!

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Grade you business today!

This application provides a FREE report on the health of your business from an HR perspective. Click HERE to get started

Once completed, you will receive two feedback reports detailing the areas of your business that maybe at potential risk. The answers to the questions you clicked NO to will be shown. These are for guidance purposes.  You will also receive your Business Health Check Scores

You will receive two scores:

  • For questions in the business critical section you will receive a score based on your answers relating to business critical HR processes
  • For questions in the business health check section you will receive a score based on your answers relating to non business critical HR processes

 

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