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Make this a Christmas party that can be forgotten

Tina Chander

The Christmas adverts are on the telly, lists of ‘must-have’ presents are being compiled and carols will soon accompany shoppers on their travels, but as the works Christmas party looms, it is important organisations don’t get too caught up in the festive spirit. Tina Chander, a solicitor in the Employment team at law firm Wright Hassall.

Whilst no-one wants to play the Grinch, it is worth reminding organisations that the Christmas party is essentially just an extension of the workplace. Although the party may take place outside of the workplace and out of normal office hours, there remains the risk that an employer will be liable for the actions of its staff.

Most concerning from an employer’s perspective, is the potential liability for acts of discrimination or harassment by its staff. The potential for trouble after any incident is likely to have increased following the recent decision to remove tribunal fees, which is expected to create a significant increase in claims from employees, who would previously have decided against pursuing an action.

Employers should prepare in advance of the festive season and protect themselves from unnecessary and potentially damaging employment issues.

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