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Christmas in the workplace

The works Christmas party is a time for staff to get together and can be a good morale booster. However, between the issues the work party can raise and the extra requests for holidays, the Christmas period can quickly become a headache for employers.

Don’t let the minefield of HR challenges ruin the festive season – a little preparation can help make sure your employee relations survive into the New Year.
Ensure you have a policy on workplace social events that covers potential issues such as conduct, victimisation, harassment and also includes the likelihood of disciplinary action in cases of unacceptable behaviour.

Keep a policy on religious observance during working hours. The policy should show support for employees that have religious festivals at different times in the year. Ensure you have a policy that covers annual leave entitlement and includes arrangements for taking holidays at peak times. The policy should also include the criteria for approving or refusing requests so that there are clear and fair guidelines in place.  Make sure your managers/supervisors are very familiar with your policies.

It’s worth taking a little time to make sure policies are in place and are up to date. Remember, the employer can be held responsible for the conduct of employees, even at events held outside normal working hours. This was highlighted in a recent case where employees at a seminar were dismissed for getting in to a drunken state and being abusive and violent. The Employment Tribunal found they were wrongfully dismissed as the employer had provided an unlimited free bar – an excellent example of a morale booster gone wrong!

Do you need help with your workplace policies, or any other employment law issue? Talk to us. We are experienced employment law specialists and can give you the expert advice and support you need. Call 01302 320621 or email

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