Employers like to thank their staff for the hard work and dedication shown over the year with a party. It’s also an opportunity to put away the spreadsheets and presentations for a moment and enjoy the festive spirit. However, work will commence again soon enough. Make sure your employees know where the boundaries are for the office year end function to ensure happy and appropriate work relationships in the New Year.

Most employees and employers look forward to the company Christmas party at the end of the year. Sharing a sociable evening out with team members is a strong way to build good relationships within your company.

But, we all know the cautionary tales.

Stories of people behaving in inappropriate ways abound, and may even land on the internet. Though a few chuckles may be raised at the thought of someone drunkenly dancing or making a fool of themselves, there are real and serious consequences for careers if this happens. Of course, inappropriate behaviour can also go a lot further than silly antics.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that the year end party is enjoyable and safe for all staff members. In addition, employers have a further responsibility to set clear guidelines on what will and will not be tolerated in a social setting. These guidelines need to be communicated clearly and frequently prior to the Christmas party.

The following tips may help employers prevent problematic incidents at the year end, and other company functions.

  1. Make employees aware of the policies and procedures in place that deal with sexual harassment, harassment and bullying.
  2. Clearly communicate to employees that company policies and procedures extend outside of the work environment to company social events.
  3. Advise employees that inappropriate behaviour which takes place in a social setting will be dealt with in the same manner as though it had taken place in the workplace.
  4. Remind employees that the same behaviour deemed appropriate in the work environment is required at a company social event.
  5. Employers and/or members of a management team should remember that an office party is not an appropriate place for discussions about salary increases, promotions or career prospects.
  6. It’s a wise move to have a social media policy in place and alert staff as to what they should not post on social media sites. Infringing on a person’s individual right to privacy can happen easily if photos of the office party are shared online.
  7. The duty of care employers have towards their staff extends to office events held out of hours. Employers need to consider travel arrangements that employees can make when the party is over and they need to travel home, i.e. ensuring that the party is being held in a venue that has good transport links.
  8. If complaints are made after the Christmas party, these should be investigated quickly and the relevant disciplinary procedure followed.
  9. Ensure that disciplinary action is appropriate and consistently applied.  

With these guidelines in place, the end of year office party will be an enjoyable and team-building event.

Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh

04 December 2017

    Gillian and all at Augustus Cullen Law, A million thanks for a great job done. Justice for our son at last!!

    Catherine, Liam & William

    Dear Michael, A great result was achieved because of your efforts and we were truly blessed to have you on our side.

    Kathleen, Medical Negligence Client

    Dear Joice…you are and have been very professional, sympathetic and dignified in all of your dealings with us and I put that down to one simple fact. You listened.

    James, Medical Negligence Client

    Geraldine, Thank you most sincerely for all your hard work and commitment to these children.

    Freda McKittrick, Head of Barnardos Beacon Guardian Ad Litem service

    Neil is an absolute gentleman to deal with – kind, tactful and very efficient. We could not praise him highly enough. He brought us through a horrible time.

    Sean, Medical Negligence Client

    Many thanks again for a job well done. We really appreciate all your hard work and practical advice.

    Corporate client in a commercial litigation matter

    Dear Jamie, You and your team in ACL were so professional, diligent and prompt. I have recommended you and the firm, and will continue to do so

    Lorraine McCarthy

    Gus Cullen and the firm’s approach to addressing the key issues was professional, yet personal, efficient yet attentive.


    The process is a difficult one and when you deal with people who are so professional and yet genuine/real people, it makes it so much easier... so thanks a million.


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