Work Christmas Parties – Do’s and Don’ts

Employment Law, For Employees, For Employers

Whilst Christmas is fast approaching, so are the work Christmas parties and we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of do’s and don’ts from an employment law perspective.

Do’s for Employers

  • Consider having drink tokens for employees- this will save a lot of Company spending and ensure you are not allowing a “free for all.”
  • Check that employees have a safe place to stay after the event and a way of getting there too.
  • Make sure you are not leaving anybody out if they are not drinking alcohol, they can still have just as good a time as those who are drinking and they won’t even wake up with a hangover!
  • As an add-on to the above, make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic options for those who are not drinking alcohol (see our “Calling Time on the Booze Culture blog” for more information on these points).
  • Make sure everyone is aware of what is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to their behaviour even offsite as they are still representing the business.

Do’s for Employees

  • Be careful with the amount of alcohol you are consuming (if any!).
  • Ensure you have a sensible way of getting home/to your accommodation for the night.
  • Speak to new and old colleagues, you may find you have more in common than you first thought and it’s a great way to break the ice and work more collaboratively in the future.
  • Check in on your colleagues to make sure they get home safe.

Don’ts for Employers

  • Make attendance mandatory- some people may have other commitments or may be struggling physically and/or mentally and may not want to and/or be able to attend.
  • Make it all about Christmas- there are other religious festivities that take place around the year, and some employees may not celebrate Christmas, so don’t limit all of the fun for this.
  • Make it all about work – people are there to switch off and have fun, don’t make them participate in conversations only about work, get to know your employees on a more personal level.
  • Allow offensive gifts to be given to staff in secret santas for example.

Don’ts for Employees

  • Participate in “banter” with people you are not too friendly with- banter and/or alcohol intoxication is not a defence to discrimination/harassment claims, and both you and your employer can be liable for these.
  • Complain or start gossiping – word travels fast, you could upset a lot of people and create damaging relationships and a hostile work environment.
  • Stay quiet if you see somebody participating in unwanted conduct – calling this behaviour out can help those who don’t feel as comfortable doing so.

Overall, it’s helpful to just be aware of your behaviour and what you are saying and of course… just relax and have fun!

If you have any issues which arise from Christmas parties please contact Jodie on for a no obligation chat.

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