A lawyer in Cork has warned that behaviour at work Christmas parties is getting worse and that 20 people have already been suspended from work by their employers.
Of course, the office Christmas party is a great way for colleagues to relax and celebrate in a less formal environment, but that does not mean there are no consequences for unacceptable actions.
John Boylan of BDM Boylan Solicitors spoke to Patricia Messinger on the Cork Today Show about the issue.
He said: “Behaviour is getting worse. We’ve found a big upsurge in assaults happening at Christmas parties and drug use is getting much more common.”
Boylan explained that the Labour Courts in Ireland have decided that the Christmas party is an extension of the workplace, and therefore the same disciplinary procedures can be used against employees if their behaviour is unacceptable.
He said he was already aware of 20 workers in Cork being suspended by their employers because of their Christmas party antics, and that three of those have already been dismissed.
Boylan continued: “There’s a large increase in sexual behaviour. A lot of employers are discovering a new trend, which is nudity at Christmas parties.
“In Ireland when some people hear free bar, they think there’s going to be no tomorrow and they get, literally, out of their minds hammered and they end up taking all their clothes off in the middle of the dance floor.”
The problem is so prevalent that Boylan is even suggesting companies may be better served to cancel Christmas parties altogether.
He said: “If you asked the question if people want a Christmas party you might be surprised that in a lot of cases they don’t. In over 50% of cases I can say it actually negatively affects morale. You can give up to a €500 voucher to people tax-free for example.”