HR company urges caution over office Christmas parties

26 November 2018

Huddersfield-based HR consultants Pennine Business Partners are urging employers to set staff rules as the Christmas party season approaches.

HR expert Lynn Bradley is advising employers to send out a clear statement to their staff outlining the consequences of inappropriate behaviour at the office Christmas party.

She said: “Christmas parties are great for morale and bring everyone together to celebrate the year, but they can provide problems too. We don’t want to play the role of Scrooge, but it’s important for employers to remind staff of HR policies and to make them aware that they are still expected to act professionally.

“Employers should encourage responsible drinking by limiting the amount of free alcohol available, instruct bar staff to refuse alcohol where appropriate, and remind staff of the dangers of drinking and driving.”

Tribunals can view the office party as an extension of the normal work environment which means employers can be held accountable for the behaviour of staff.

Lynn said: “Whether in the workplace or at a party inappropriate behaviour such as insulting comments, fighting or sexual harassment can result in disciplinary action which would certainly spoil the festivities!

“Although staff are responsible for their own actions, employers have an obligation to provide a safe environment. If they haven’t taken reasonable steps to prevent inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour, they could be liable for the actions of their staff outside the workplace.

“Attending the office party shouldn’t be compulsory and no one should be discriminated against for not going. This should be made clear by the employer. Employers should also watch their own behaviour, for example, not discuss promotions or salary increases at the party.

“We’re not trying to be bah humbug but when people drink too much you never know what they might say.”

Pennine Business Partners provides practical HR support delivered by qualified professionals with real life management experience, to businesses and organisations across Yorkshire and the north of England.

Notes to editor

Attached photograph shows Lynn Bradley

About Pennine Business Partners

Pennine Business Partners is based in Lockwood, Huddersfield, and was founded by Lynn and Steve Bradley in 2010. The company provides practical HR support delivered by qualified professionals with real life management experience, to businesses and organisations across Yorkshire and the north of England in a wide variety of industries and sectors.

Pennine Business Partners employs a further two HR professionals, creating a four-strong team of individuals who share the business values of openness and honesty - providing a friendly and straightforward service to meet client needs.

The company prides itself on its pragmatic approach to HR matters which is delivered in a way that helps business owners run their businesses the way they want to. In July 2018, Pennine Business Partners won the national Small Business Sunday (SBS) award run by former Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis.

For more information, please visit: https://www.penninebusinesspartners.com/ Follow Pennine Business Partners on Twitter @PennineBP

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more information, please visit www.capitalbmedia.co.uk.

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