It’s that time of year again when businesses start to plan the Christmas work night out.  Before jumping straight in, organisers must consider the HR and legal risks.  Wurkplace have seen first hand the implications alcohol can have on working relationships.

Businesses planning on hosting Christmas parties for staff need to ensure the fundamental policies are in place so that normal standards of behaviour and conduct apply.  Wurkplace can assist you in reminding staff these parties are still work functions, by implementing policies and offering guidance on minimising the risk.

In November 2013, MBNA held a work night out to celebrate their 20th anniversary at Chester Racecourse for all staff.  There were a couple of instances where two employees were involved in inappropriate and violent behaviour.  Several hours leading up to the event both employees had been ‘pre-drinking’ which had taken its toll.

The first incident consisted of Mr B kneeing Mr J in the back of the leg to which Mr J retaliated by licking Mr B’s face.

The second incident was inspired by Mr J putting his arm around Mr B’s sister.  Mr B kneed Mr J in the leg once more and Mr J responded by punching him in the face.

After the celebration Mr B proceeded to send threatening texts to Mr J.

Both employees were disciplined, Mr B received final written warning and Mr J was dismissed for misconduct.  Mr J claimed unfair dismissal at Employment Tribunal and it was found that both employees were guilty of misconduct and both should have been dismissed.

This was overall a costly and emotionally/time draining process which could have been avoided.  So don’t wait until it’s too late.  Wurkplace can work with you to put in place suitable HR provisions and a disciplinary procedure. Protect your business from claims following a work night out.  Book a free HR Consultation.

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