After a Birmingham worker got fired following a number of incidents at the office Christmas party, reminding yourself that you’re still at work while you’re having a few drinks might still be crucial. Gross misconduct is an act that destroys the employer – employee relationship in one hit.
Futureboard Consulting held a very successful Christmas party in Brussels to celebrate this year’s hard work. The atmosphere in the office is still healthy and polite.
Joanne Keilt, Consultant at Futureboard, shares her advice. She says:“I think it’s important to remember that you’ve worked hard all year, and even though a Christmas party is the right occasion to let your hair down, you’ll still have to face those people in the office after the holidays.”
As the Daily Mail recently published its top 10 annoying office Christmas party guests, the issue of gross misconduct seems to be getting bigger. Joanne adds: “It’s always sad to see people who, after a few drinks, can’t leave behind their personal grievances with colleagues or get overly emotional. They ruin the atmosphere in the office.”
Human Resources outsourcing and service provider Right Hand HR has published its own Gross Misconduct warning, Gross Misconduct – Christmas Edition. Right Hand’s list of unacceptable behaviour includes:
• Being drunk
• Being intoxicated through drugs
• Fighting/threatening/abusive behaviour
• Physical Abuse
• Indecent behaviour/sexual harassment
• Serious breaches of Health and Safety rules which put someone else in danger
However, Right Hand HR suggest that the rules are not set in stone: for example being drunk at the Christmas Party,if your boss has paid for all the alcohol, would probably not count.
So what can employers do to avoid gross misconduct when ‘tis the time to be jolly?
Right Hand HR write: “One way that employers can try and avoid such situations is by making sure that they set out the boundaries to employees well in advance of the party.
“Send out a memo to all staff explaining that whilst you want them all to have a great time, the party is technically a work-related activity and as such, disciplinary action could be taken against those who just go too far!”
Right Hand HR add that it is also worth it to mention that, as a work-related event, the employees are representing the company, and that unacceptable behaviour is likely to bring the company into disrepute.
Right Hand HR write: “By sending the memo out and reiterating this ‘common sense’ to the employees, you will find it easier to discipline employees who do ‘cross the line’ and also to protect your business in the event that anyone tries to make a claim against you.”
As Right Hand HR write: “Don’t cancel the Christmas party — go and enjoy it! Just make