It's that time of year again, when it's traditional for employment lawyers to send out a summary of the perils of the Christmas party. Not wanting to break with tradition, here is this year's message:   

  • Remind staff that work related social functions such as the Christmas party and team lunches can be an extension of the workplace and the same standard of behaviour expected. Punching your boss at 2am, after half a dozen Jaeger bombs will be as unacceptable then as it would be in the workplace itself. 
  • Train staff on their equality obligations, making them aware that harassment is unacceptable. Ensure you keep a record of the training. Offensive behaviour on the grounds of sex, race, age, sexual orientation, disability or religion and belief won't be excusable just because it happens in a party atmosphere.  
  • Remind staff of reputational risk. Bad behaviour that leads to police or press involvement is unlikely to be acceptable and is rarely good for business.
  • Alcohol: remind the partygoers of the change to the legal limit in Scotland (now 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood or 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath). Make sure there are non alcoholic alternatives available for those who are designated drivers, do not wish to drink or do not do so on grounds of their beliefs.  
  • Ensure your disciplinary policies are clear on what is acceptable and what is not and that they are applied consistently.