Dan wanted to do something nice for his team of twelve, they’d had a really busy and stressful year. He’d been given a £15 budget per team member, which he used to arrange a Christmas meal and paid for the drinks with his personal card.
After the meal the team moved to a nearby bar, where Dan put his credit card behind the bar and cocktails’ and tequila shots were consumed, while the team danced and enjoyed themselves with other patrons at the bar.
The next day three members of Dan’s team called in sick and HR received a complaint for inappropriate behaviour from one of the younger members of the team.
One member of his team’s party sickness trigged the sickness absence process. The investigation into the complaint resulted in a member of the team being moved to another department, which affected team morale and Dan was reprimanded by his boss for not sticking to the budget assigned and exposing the company to possible legal proceedings.
The repercussions from the night out lasted well into the New Year!
The annual Christmas party is a great way to show your appreciation got your team, however they can also pose a risk. Typical tricky scenarios include fighting, drunkenness, offensive remarks, broken promises, inappropriate sexual behaviour and similar.
A lot of these scenarios can be down to excessive consumption of alcohol lowering inhibitions and providing additional confidence.
Check out this article about how some flirting led to a libel case.
When you are planning your event, try to:
Include an activity in the festivities
Taking part in some fun team building activities (e.g. bowling, escape rooms, cooking lesson), to encourage conversation and removes the focus from just food and drink.
Remember not everyone drinks alcohol
Ensure there is something for those who don’t drink alcohol to do and something nice to drink
Limit the drinks paid for by the company
Welcome drinks, wine/beer with meal are fine. Try not to have an unlimited open bar.
Ensure that any employees under the legal age to drink do not have access to alcohol.
Don’t make moving onto another venue extend the corporate event.
It’s fine for individuals to choose to move on, just don’t make it a business driven decision or cover the drinks bill
Ensure everyone has the means to get home safely.
Let us know what fun you’ve got planned with your team this Christmas.