As Christmas party season gets underway, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) is warning small businesses of the potential pitfalls of the festive season.
In order to avoid problems such as employee disputes or even legal action, the FPB has published a list of advice for small businesses, including the following:
– Make it clear to staff if they are expected to turn up for work as normal the following day, hangover or not. Also don’t forget to by example – research suggests that senior managers are more likely to call in sick the day after a Christmas party than junior staff members.
– Keep it clean and don’t let the tipple flow too freely. Saucy gifts and games could easily lead down the dangerous path to a tribunal, while too much alcohol could spark arguments and fights, leaving employers dealing with tricky disciplinary issues.
– Business owners should also remember to act professionally when socialising with staff and not let anything slip which they wouldn’t do in the office, such as personal opinions of other employees.
The FPB’s business adviser, Joanne Eccles, says: “No-one wants to put a dampener on the festive spirit and Christmas parties are great for boosting workplace morale and allowing staff to let their hair down. But business owners do need to take some important precautions if they want to guard against potential litigation.
“Most of the regulations which govern the normal working day also extend to the Christmas party, wherever it might be held, so employers need to ensure they’re not leaving themselves open to claims, complaints and time-consuming employee disputes.”