Irish lawyer warns staff and employers Christmas parties can lead to big trouble

staff night out

With offices and workplaces around the world preparing for the Christmas party season, its time for workers to enjoy themselves.

After a long year of hard graft, people are looking forward to letting their hair down.

However, while it is great to have fun as the year winds down it is important to remember to act responsibly.

staff night out

An Irish lawyer has issued a warning to anyone attending their work Christmas party that behaving inappropriately could cost them their jobs.

Cork based solicitor David Gaffney told the Irish Sunday Mirror that many workplaces are refusing to offer free bars at their parties.

He said that alcohol plus employees harbouring grievances with somebody, or an unspoken attraction to a co-worker, can be a ‘recipe for disaster’.

Mr Gaffney said: “People have to have manners on them, they are aware of this at work but often they let their guard down when they have too much drink taken.

“Alcohol can adversely affect a person’s judgement at every level of an organisation. I have dealt with a top manager who was forced to resign after an employee took a case against him following an incident at a Christmas party.”

It is important to remember that while the staff may be in ‘party mode’ their Christmas party is still an extension of their workplace.

Mr Gaffney said: “This is something people sometimes tend to forget.

“If an office Christmas party takes place within working hours, or outside of working hours, in the office or away from the office, it is still considered an extension of the working environment.”

This means any bad behaviour cannot be simply brushed under the carpet as being out of work time.

He added that many employers have decided parties can be more trouble than they are worth as the employer may be considered to have created a situation that wouldn’t have occurred without their employees losing their inhibitions together.

He said: “The majority of issues that arise from workplace parties happen after alcohol is consumed. Basically, the employer is facilitating the employee in getting drunk.

“A lot of employers have stopped having staff parties because of issues that have arisen in the past that led to a claim of sexual harassment, personal injury or a fight that broke out after too much alcohol.”

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcallingJoin our community