Employers may want to tighten up their Social, Disciplinary and Discrimination policies during this season of jolly, in the lead up to the office Christmas party.

One tipple too many and the general excitement of Christmas, could lead to:

Dirty dancing;

Unwanted touching;

A punch up;

Drink Driving;

Employees not turning up to work the next day; and

Someone getting their P45!

Employers are liable for all acts of discrimination, harassment and conduct which take place at a work-related party. However, this can be avoided, and employers should take note of the following mitigating steps:

Ensure that there is a sufficient supply of water and soft drinks available to employees;

Reconsider having an ‘open bar’ as this will encourage excessive drinking;

Tighten the Work Social Policy which sets out the standards of behaviour expected from staff, and what the repercussions could be on an offending employee i.e. disciplinary action;

Tighten the Discrimination and Equality at work policies which expressly state that such behaviour is unacceptable at social events at work;

Provide training to management on the Work Social and Discrimination Policies Policy and what could warrant disciplinary action;

Assign responsibility to certain managers to supervise work-related social parties;

As a duty of care, advise employees to arrange alternative travel arrangements in advance of the Christmas party to avoid drink driving.

Niki Avraam’s comments:

The annual Christmas party is a nice way for employers to show their appreciation to staff for their hard work, efforts and dedication to the Company. However, employers must take steps prior to the Christmas party to prevent unacceptable behaviour from taking place at a work-related party.

Sending a statement to employees, encouraging them to have fun and that their hard work has been greatly appreciated can be a nice touch. It is equally important to remind employees of the standards of behaviour that are expected from them at work-related social events and to refer them to the relevant policies which must be adhered to at all times.

Howat Avraam can:

Protect your business by implementing, reviewing, amending and updating your current Social, Disciplinary and Discrimination policies, to ensure a delightful Christmas party experience for all!

From the Employment Team at Howat Avraam, “Have a very Merry Christmas!”


To discuss any employment matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Niki Avraam, Employment Partner, on 020 3735 6708 or email Niki at Alternatively, visit our website at

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