And so dear Foxy fans, with just SIXTEEN sleeps until the Big Day, the festive party season is looming larger than my not inconsiderable derrière and we all know how dangerous that can be for the future of anyone’s career.
If you haven’t read that intro before, WHERE WERE YOU LAST WEEK!? You see, that’s when I dished out my own top tips of what you should and shouldn’t be doing in order to handle the annual do like a pro.
This week, we are looking at the potential pitfalls for all you bosses out there, courtesy of the employment team at Rowberry Morris Solicitors. We are nothing if not all-inclusive here, you know.
Now apparently, before we accuse the team at Rowberry of being killjoys, it is important that organisations do not get too caught up in the festivities and remind their employees that the Christmas party is essentially just an extension of the workplace and the same rules and responsibilities apply. (Hopefully my bosses aren’t reading this…)
Of course, to protect themselves from unnecessary employment issues afterwards, with the potential financial and reputational damage for the organisation that can follow, employers must ensure they are prepared in advance.
Big boss tip 1: Invites should go to everyone, including those on family-related leave, working from home that day if it’s a lunch party, or absent through illness or injury, as not doing so might result in claims of discrimination. FFS!
Big boss tip 2: When employees can bring partners, do not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or assume all partners will be of the opposite sex. Jesus!
Big boss tip 3: Ensure that you have an equal opportunities/anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy in place and that everyone is aware of what it includes. Christ!
Big boss tip 4: Shortly before the Christmas party, remind employees of the existence of the policies and confirm that it applies equally to business events outside of the workplace and outside office hours. STFU!
Big boss tip 5: Tell employees to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but remind them that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated and could result in disciplinary action. ZOMG!
Big boss tip 6: If hired entertainers tell racist, sexist or offensive jokes and the employer does not fulfil its duty to protect employees from this unwanted conduct, it could be liable for harassment claims. Help!
Big boss tip 7: Consider limiting the bar, as it could be argued it is irresponsible to provide unlimited free alcohol to staff and could make it hard to defend any legal action resulting from an act carried out by a member of staff aggravated by alcohol consumption. Ouch!
Big boss tip 8: Consider appointing a senior, responsible employee to stay sober, monitor behaviour and step in if necessary. YOLO!
Big boss tip 9: Be mindful of the potential tax implications and their liability under the Bribery Act 2010 when giving gifts. Gifting cash should be avoided as such gifts would still be taxable as earnings in the normal way (subject to tax and national insurance). Similarly, gift vouchers that are exchangeable for goods and services only are also taxable and as such must be reported on the employee’s P11D form. To minimise the risk of any Christmas gifts being misconstrued by their clients, company bosses should stick to offering useful branded stationery items such as calendars and pens. Oof!
Big boss tip 10: Don’t ever make me a boss; if those are the rules these days, I’d rather be one of the grunts. Yeeey!
So there you have it bosses, don’t say you haven’t been warned…