How should you manage Work Parties and Social Events?
As we head on into the festive season many businesses will be arranging parties and social events may be in or outside the workplace. HR and You Ltd offer many services and strongly advise to ensure to have all the necessary policies and procedures in place to minimise risks and protect you as there is a risk of you becoming vicariously liable.
In this article, we take a look at the issues you may face and how you can deal with them effectively in your workplace.
What are the most common issues?
When it comes to parties, social events, and in particular around the festive period, we can assure you that we have seen and dealt with all manner of situations and in particular when it comes to the festive season. Social events can be extremely risky, cause issues, and can create havoc which should not be ignored, as an Employer you should deal with any issues swiftly, acting reasonably and professionally.
In the month of December, it is more likely the issues in the following areas will arise:
- Sexual Harassment
- Unauthorised Absence
- Discrimination (Direct and Indirect)
- Misconduct issues that could potentially lead to grievances or disciplinary proceedings.
As always HR and You Ltd ensure you remain legally compliant 365 days a year by having the correct policies and procedures in place. These will provide you with all the information required to follow the correct process and protect you against any potential tribunal claims, including vicariously liable claims.
What should I expect from my Employees at a work event?
Work events should be viewed as an extension to the working day, and you should set a minimum expectations in terms of standards and behaviours. As an Employer you are still liable during these events and claims can be brought much the same as during a normal shift. Below are some key points to consider within your business and potentially some risks you may need to resolve over the Christmas period.
- Make Employees aware of boundaries and what constitutes to be unacceptable behaviour and the consequences of this.
- Ensure Employees are aware of the absence reporting procedure and the implications of unauthorised absence following a social event.
- Ensure to have all the correct policies and procedures and introduce religious holidays to avoid direct or indirect discrimination.
- Ensure to be supportive include all religious events that may fall at different times of the year.
- Avoid certain conversations with Employees for example performance, salaries or even career prospects. If promises are made the employer could be liable for fulfilling these.
- Ensure to comply with the Equality Act 2010 and be mindful of refusing time off for religious holidays.
- Remain professional and ensure to be observant to minimise grievances as Employees may take offence to others gossiping during or after the event.
- Avoid Employee issues getting out of hand by appointing a designated member to monitor activities.
- Ensure social events are as inclusive as possible cater for all dietary requirements and include non-alcoholic beverages for those who do not drink.
- Consider Health and Safety finishing times for transportation home and accessibility for disabled Employees.
How can we help?
If you need any advice, at any time, contact a member of the HR and You Ltd team. We can help you navigate any tricky situations whilst keeping you legally compliant.
This article contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.
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