Christmas in the Workplace 

Tis the season to be jolly and the time when most employers choose to adopt a certain sense of Santa-like generosity.  Many will offer a reward to their staff in the form of the ‘Christmas bonus’ or, ‘Christmas Party’.

The Christmas party (and partaking in a festive tipple) brings with it a heightened risk of behaviour that could be seen to be unacceptable.  Employers should be aware that the party will be seen as an extension of the work environment, which means that any incident will need to be dealt with as if it happened at work.

In the past, we have advised on situations where staff members have complained of the conduct of their colleagues at a work social, including behaviour that is considered to be sexual harassment and aggression.

Beware of talking about promotions, or pay rises with your staff at social events.  In the past, an employer who regretted the offer of a pay rise that he made at a social gathering was held by a Judge to be bound by the offer, even though he tried to negate on the offer.

You may have a member of staff who does not wish to partake in Christmas celebrations.  Employers should ensure that all staff are treated fairly in any rewards given and that any decision not to join in is respected.

In summary, you should ensure that:

  • All staff are treated equally
  • Staff behaviour is monitored and tackled where necessary
  • Any complaint received is dealt with in line with normal procedures and don’t offer a pay rise to anyone!

Feel free to contact WBW Solicitors on lawyer@wbw.co.uk or call 01626 202 404 for further information.