3rd December 2021

Employment Law Advent Calendar: Day 3

It’s the 3rd of December and you snow the drill. Look behind door 3 of my employment law advent calen-deer to find out who or what is there to help employers get ready, set, glow this Christmas.

It’s the Christmas Party.

I know the first of many planned Christmas lunches and parties take place today, and of course, it’s a topical subject; to party or not to party in light of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

How can employers make Christmas parties covid-secure?
The work Christmas party can often be the most wine-derful time of the year but one present that no employer or employee wants is an outbreak of Covid-19 in the days that follow. Here are examples of the steps employers can take to minimise the risk:

  • Consider restricting numbers for example, team or department parties rather then one big party for the entire workplace.
  • Book a venue that can demonstrate its Covid-19 credentials including sufficient hand washing and sanitizer facilities, well ventilated rooms and enforcing face coverings among its staff. If the workplace can accommodate the numbers attending, considering holding the party in the office where the employer will have more control over safety measures and their enforcement. Better still, hold the party outdoors if possible.
  • Ask employees to take a lateral flow test the day before or morning of the party and remind employees to stay away if they have, or they have come into contact with someone with, covid symptoms.
  • Follow any advice or guidance issued by the Scottish Government and remind employees to do the same.

What else should employers be thinking about?
In good time before the Christmas party be sure to warn your employees that you don’t expect them to be up to snow-good including:

  • One too many Prosecc-ho-ho-ho’s. It’s fine to be the life and soul of the party but remember a little goes a long way.
  • Inappropriate (s)elfies. Tweeting a picture of a shirt-less, drunken colleague throwing some shapes might be funny at the time, but it has the potential to embarrass both the colleague and the employer, and might even bring the employer into disrepute.
  • Trying to make a fa-la-la-la-lasting impression with a colleague under the mistletoe. The Christmas party is not the place to make a declaration of everlasting love because the feeling might not be mutual. No one wants to be answering to a claim of sexual harassment.

Make sure you elf a merry little Christmas and contact a member of the Blackadders Employment Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland for help and advice.

Donna Reynolds, Partner
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Employment Law & Discrimination Law
Employment Law
Blackadders LLP



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