With Christmas fast approaching and workers gearing up for their office parties, an employment lawyer has urged employees ‘not to cross the line’.
The timely warning comes from employment specialist Sally Morris who says there are ‘countless’ hidden dangers at the office Christmas do as employees let their hair down.
“Christmas is the season to be jolly but one wrong decision at the office party could mean something very different on either side of the coin.” said Sally, Partner and Head of the Employment Division at Midlands law firm mfg Solicitors.
“Like every year, this year office Christmas parties are a great chance for employees to socialise. However, once the free bar is open and levels of alcohol increase people lose their inhibitions. That’s when their actions could lead to dismissal from their job or just as bad, a colleague raising a formal grievance against them.
“Many don’t realise that employment laws apply even when an event takes place somewhere other than the workplace so it is vital that staff act accordingly.
“It’s also important that anyone who feels they are the victim of unwanted conduct at the office Christmas party should take legal advice and inform their employer immediately. Just because it happens away from the office doesn’t mean action cannot be taken.”
Sally added: “Research shows that one in 10 workers have been disciplined or dismissed for their behaviour at an office Christmas party.
“Therefore it is important that employees are aware of their conduct, restrain themselves from posting offensive comments or photographs on social media sites, and if they are a victim of unwanted behaviour, report it without delay.
“Employees should also read up on any policies their employers have in place to help avoid problems. Those actions will help make sure it’s a happy festive event which passes without controversy and there are no difficult new year conversations with HR teams.”
As part of the run up to Christmas, Sally and the employment team at mfg Solicitors have produced a handy ‘Christmas Party guide’ with dos and don’ts for employees.
This includes tips about posting comments or photographs on social media sites and what to do if people are the victim of any inappropriate behaviour.