The work Christmas party can be the event of the year. As an employer, you should ensure you have the right protections in place to prevent any claims stemming from the behaviour of your employees.
What Should You Be Doing?
- Be Aware of the Risk of Claims
You can be liable for the acts committed by an employee if there is a sufficient connection between the acts and the employee's employment. This is known as vicarious liability and it does not matter that you are not the primary wrongdoer.
For example, if one of your employees assaulted another employee at your Christmas party, you, as the employer, could be liable for that.
Keep in mind that events that occur after the formal work-related events end, such as post-Christmas party drinks, are not necessarily beyond the scope of vicarious liability.
- Ensure You Have Appropriate Policies in Place
You should have appropriate and robust policies in place which cover the standards of behaviour expected of your employees at work parties. The policies should also give examples of the types of behaviours which are unacceptable.
- Take Steps to Prevent Your Employees Behaving Badly
You should make your employees aware of these policies, including of the consequences if the standards of behaviour are not adhered to.
In addition, consider putting appropriate training in place to cover equal opportunities, bullying and harassment and standards of conduct.