Employers are saying "bah humbug" to Christmas parties as they
worry employee misbehaviour could lead to litigation.
According to a survey of 2,000 UK employers by law firm Peninsula, almost 70
per cent of employers in the UKhave abandoned financing Christmas parties this
This is despite 73 per cent traditionally holding a Christmas party every
The 69 per cent who are abandoning company festivities said they are doing
so because they "don’t want the hassle".
Financial restraints are also dampening the Christmas spirit – 46 per cent
of employers complain that they cannot afford to host a party this year.
Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula, said: "While [Christmas
parties] are extremely enjoyable for most, employers must be aware that the
party venue is basically an extension of the office and that they remain
responsible for the well-being, protection and behaviour of their employees.
"The danger at occasions such as this is the potential for misconduct
between members of staff, encouraged by the influence of alcohol.
"Should a problem arise and a member of staff wishes to complain, then
a company can be taken to an employment tribunal," he said.
How to avoid trouble
– Employers and organisers of the event should remain
"relatively free from intoxication"
– Consider providing transportation home to prevent drink
– Send a memo around the company office reminding all employees
of what is expected of them at the party – reminding employees of the dangers
of excessive drinking and of mixing alcohol and medication
– Bosses should supervise alcohol provision and set out some
guidelines for dealing with over-intoxicated individuals.
– The company should liaise with bar staff before the event and
discuss ideas regarding the smooth-running of the party