Holidays are coming...

09 December 2019

Can you believe Christmas is nearly upon us – where has the year gone?! With everyone getting into the party spirit it is important to remember as an employer you can end up being liable for the actions of your employees with an increased risk of issues arising during this festive period. 

At CooperativeHR, we don’t want to be party poopers but we’ve put together our own 'Twelve Days of Christmas' highlighting some of the problems to be aware of specifically at this time of year.  If you follow our advice though we're confident a good time will be had by all!  

Now, sing a long if you want!  On the first day of Christmas my Manager gave to me……

One sexual harasser; although this is a risk all year through there is always a higher risk of claims at Christmas.  Make sure all staff are aware of the equal opportunities and bullying and harassment policies and that you take action as soon as anything is brought to your attention.

Two bonus show-offs; Christmas sometimes means recognition or goodwill bonuses and we know employees like to chat!  Make sure if you’re giving bonuses, they’re fair (you can justify them if challenged) and remind employees’ salaries and bonuses’ should be confidential and not discussed. 

Three depressed employees; this is often one of the hardest times of the year for people with mental health issues.  Ensure you keep an eye on your staff who have known conditions and create a culture of ‘checking in’ and enabling people to feel comfortable talking about their concerns #itsoknottobeok

Four people leaving; often many people think New Year, new job so be prepared for a resignation or four.  Ensure you give praise and recognition, set clear objectives and provide opportunities to grow and develop.  This’ll hopefully help to keep your staff engaged and ready to succeed with you next year. 

Five discrimination claims; remember not all staff will celebrate Christmas.  This could be due to religion or faith or ‘just because’.  Make sure your celebrations/actions take into account all staff requirements, offering alternatives where appropriate to avoid any unfair claims. 

Six sick employees; whether it’s too much beer or a dodgy turkey sandwich you’ll often find sickness increases at this time of year.  Make sure your policy is written, clear, communicated and action is taken promptly if people are found to be breaking the rules.

Seven inappropriate dressers; if you choose to relax your dress policy at this time of year remember to set clear guidelines and be careful about the wording you use to ensure it is clear that casual and Christmas dress is optional - be sensitive to employees who do not celebrate Christmas.

Eight data breaches; make sure with parties in full swing and business slightly more relaxed employees are reminded that they shouldn’t share anything they wouldn't in the office, such as confidential information or personal opinions of other employees.  Managers should lead by example

Nine inappropriate presents; secret Santa is a firm favourite but remind everyone to keep gifts appropriate - whilst funny to the giver or the rest of the team, gifts of underwear and sex toys often spark employee complaints, so set guidelines in advance to keep everyone happy.

Ten drunk employees; whether it’s at the Christmas party or the day after a good knees up, some employees will get drunk or still be over the limit the next day.  Remind employees about the drug & alcohol policy, limit alcohol supplied by the company and set clear expectations before the big event.

Eleven online shoppers; trying to fit everything in at this time of year is a struggle so employees may  ‘quickly’ go online to grab the last minute gift or the final dinner ingredients.  Remind employees about the IT policy; reiterate they can use their lunch time for personal missions but work time is for working. 

Twelve Facebook posts; colleagues misbehaving in the office, compromising photos at the party – no one wants to wake up the day after and see these over the internet.  Make sure your Social Media policy is up to date and states if employees post comments, photos, or anything that can bring the organisation into disrepute, they are liable to disciplinary action along with potential bullying and harassment claims that extend to social media!

So in summary…..

Remember policies are for life not just for Christmas but it’s a great time to ensure they are in place, up to date and communicated!  They are a valuable precaution for you to demonstrate that reasonable action has been taken to protect employees and yourself. 

Cheers! And a Happy New Year!

As we’ve said before, we’re not trying to be party poopers but if you take the above advice you can sit back and enjoy the festivities with a mince pie (or three!) along with your favourite tipple. 

We hope the end of 2019 pans out stress and incident free for you but if you come back in January and find someone on the naughty list do not hesitate to give us a call!



Holidays are coming...