3rd December 2013

O Come All Ye Faithful

Without intending to be the office Christmas killjoy, I would remind employers of various employment law principles which should be considered during the course of the festive season.

If you are having an office Christmas party, consider the extent of your invitees.

Remember that if you are inviting employees and their respective husbands and wives, you should also extend the invite to include those with civil partners.  The Equality Act 2010 prohibits less favourable treatment because of sexual orientation and such less favourable treatment could, in my view, extend to partner exclusion at the office Christmas party.

By the same token, line managers should avoid the other extreme whereby they are forcing employees to attend such an event.  There may be various employees who, because of their religion or belief, do not wish to celebrate Christmas with their colleagues.  By forcing these employees to attend a Christmas event, you might equally fall foul of discrimination legislation.

‘Tis the season to be careful!

Simon Allison 
Partner – Employment Law

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