News Article

latest news in employment law


Published 01 Dec 2009

Due to the dangers and liabilities involved, companies and individuals alike are coming to the realisation that alcohol should not be the main attraction at Christmas parties, and there are ways to organise fun, yet safe, festivities that will prevent family and friends from becoming the next alcohol - or drug-related statistic.

Disciplinary issues
  • It is advisable to remind staff that the disciplinary rules still apply to them during the office party. Simply because the party is held out of office hours and maybe off the employer's premises does not mean that employees should consider themselves absolved from behaving responsibly
  • This could include highlighting the fact that drinking to excess, the use of illegal drugs, fighting, the use of bad language, inappropriate sexual conduct, and so on, will be considered to be acts of serious misconduct.
  • This is important for two legal reasons:
    1. Firstly, from an employment and health and safety law perspective, the employer may well be liable for the damage or injury any such misbehaviour by its employees may cause to others; so if an employee behaves in an unwanted, inappropriate sexual way to another member of staff, the employer could be sued for sex discrimination.
    2. Secondly, it may not be lawful to dismiss an employee who has behaved badly, if no warning has been given...