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Guest Blog - Caroline Knight of Jkonsult HR

How to not end up with a headache that lasts longer than the Xmas hangover.

Office Christmas parties are great fun and help boost morale, but as an employer it pays to think ahead of potential risks, such as fights fuelled by alcohol, discrimination and day after absenteeism.


  • Responsibility - Employers are responsible for their staff members at any work-related Christmas function wherever it is held. Whether an Xmas formal, a meal out or just drinks in a bar with work mates after work as these can all be classed as work related events.
  • Reputation - Your company reputation is at stake if employees are identifiable as part of your business.
  • Rethink - Male or female sexual harassment can constitute anything from a joke told in poor taste, an ill thought out Secret Santa, physical contact or dance floor antics.

When an employee’s behaviour becomes inappropriate it may fall under misconduct, particularly where alcohol is involved. It is often the result of drink fuelled flirting, arguments, misunderstandings or frustrations over something else coupled with reduced inhibitions. These issues can escalate and involve other people or property, accusations of sexual harassment and even police involvement if you are at for example, a nightclub. 


What can (You) employers do to prevent problems arising?

  • Send a conduct reminder to employees in advance, including a policy reminder.  Explain the impact on the person of any misconduct and that it may lead to formal disciplinary action, including any expectations as to expected behaviour.
  • Consider having a manager present at the party to keep an eye on things.... to request a taxi for someone if necessary.
  • Don’t provide a ‘free’ bar, or do stop excessive drinks on the table.
  • Encourage employee responsibility for colleagues.
  • Arrange for transport home or accommodation if possible.
  • Remind employees it is fun, don’t spoil the party for everyone.

So with a little preparation and thought it can be a great Xmas for everyone, and no headaches!

And if you do need some support, please feel free to contact me.


All the best,


Caroline Knight

07929 264499



Added: 13 Dec 2016 09:25

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