XpertHR recommends employers put policies in place for corporate Christmas parties

With corporate Christmas parties expected at thousands of firms across the country, new research from XpertHR has highlighted the need for employers to properly prepare company policy appropriate to the festivities.

As reported by Personnel Today, XpertHR’s research serves as a strong reminder that employers need to organise more than just Christmas party venues, catering and entertainment – they need to ensure that staff are aware that standards of behaviour must still be maintained.

Whilst two thirds of employers do not have any policy in place outlining the acceptable standard of employee behaviour at a corporate Christmas party, employers still have a legal responsibility to ensure that staff act acceptably during the festivities. Although the vast majority of the 111 organisations surveyed by XpertHR saw their Christmas celebrations pass without any unpleasant incident, a minority of 7% admitted that problems had arisen at their last work Christmas party or meal.

In most cases, excessive consumption of alcohol was identified as the major contributing factor in these incidents. One obvious solution to this is to limit the availability of alcoholic drinks to an enjoyable but relatively harmless amount – i.e. several glasses, rather than an unlimited bar.

However XpertHR notes that simply by putting a Christmas party policy in place, employers can avoid the risk of being held liable for harm caused by the negligent acts of their employees at a work event. Three organisations that reported incidents at Christmas parties said they had been forced to use formal disciplinary proceedings to deal with issues that arose – and without set policies in place, such procedures may prove difficult.