Staff Christmas party axed by nine in 10 employers over tribunal claim fears

Nine in 10 UK employers are vetoing the Christmas party this year to prevent potential tribunal claims, according to research.

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View Personnel Today’s employer’s guide to Christmas, which covers issues such as office parties, religious discrimination and Christmas bonuses.

The survey of 4,915 companies by employment law consultancy Peninsula BusinessWise showed that most managers fear employees may behave inappropriately and drink too much alcohol at the annual festive celebration.

The overwhelming majority of respondents (86%) said they had received complaints from staff due to an incident at a Christmas party.

Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula BusinessWise, said the Christmas party was now regarded as an excuse to binge drink.

“There is a severe binge drinking culture in the UK, where it has become common place for people to drink many times the weekly recommended alcohol levels in a single night. And for employees, the Christmas party is seen as a chance to get drunk with their fellow employees at the company’s expense,” he said.

Employers must protect themselves against the threat of litigation, Done advised.

“As an employer, you must issue a prior warning to your staff requesting decorum. Plus that if they overstep the line, be it sexually harassing a fellow employee to becoming violent or abusive when under the influence of alcohol, then severe disciplinary action will be taken against them,” he said.

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