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Christmas in the workplace

HR Departments are always busy this time of year.  Whether it’s arranging the Christmas party, dealing with inappropriate Secret Santa gifts or the fall-out from the Christmas Party.  We have identified below the most common issues facing HR in the run up to Christmas.

  1. Ensure businesses provide suitable equipment to put up decorations and that they do not block fire escapes.
  2. Ensure Secret Santa gifts don’t offend people or could be construed as discrimination, bullying or harassment.
  3. Inform employees in advance of the days they are required to work over the holidays.
  4. Be aware that employers are vicariously liable for employees’ conduct (e.g. fighting) at Christmas parties.
  5. Ensure all needs are catered for (e.g. vegetarians, non-drinkers and disabled needs).
  6. Be aware of the consequences of underage drinking and the offence to knowingly permit or condone illegal drug use.
  7. Ensure the party does not clash with other religious events (e.g. Hanukah) and consider child care commitments.
  8. Ensure managers don’t discuss promotions, pay rises or bonuses with staff while under the influence of alcohol.
  9. Remind employees not to post information on social media that adversely affects the employer’s reputation or that breaches its bullying/harassment procedures.
  10. Remind employees that if they are due to attend the office the day after the Christmas party they should not attend work under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  11. Check if Christmas bonuses are truly discretionary..
  12. Consider removing any mistletoe to avoid claims of sexual harassment.
  13. Consider how to deal with snow days – there is no statutory right to pay if snow affects work attendance.


From everyone at Morgan LaRoche Solicitors we hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.