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The first strains of Christmas music are in the air and Mariah Carey is warming up her vocal chords, it can only mean one thing, Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes the obligatory Christmas party. Great fun for most, but there can be a dark side to the festivities as the mulled wine flows freely.

Insurance Post examines the possible repercussions of the office Christmas party, speaking to experts across the market, including our Head of Legal Advice Michael Jenkins, to find out how employers can avoid party pitfalls.

‘No-one wants to police staff too closely, but it’s pertinent that employers do as much as they can in advance to mitigate the possibility of an unwelcome claim.’

Steps such as offering drinks tokens instead of an open bar, conducting a risk assessment in advance, and carefully checking the policy in place at the chosen venue can all help reduce the risk of an incident, and ensure that appropriate cover is in place should something go awry.

As we enter December, we have been receiving calls from cautious employers seeking clarity on their rights and responsibilities to employees around their office Christmas party as the party season approaches.  Bosses typically ask how much drink they are allowed to provide for staff, what they should do if an incident of sexual harassment or abuse is reported during a party, and whether they can be held liable for any injury or damage to other people or property during a party.

“Take a moment to remind staff of your expectations of them, and make sure they are up to speed on your policies and procedures. They are, after all, still representing your business and should behave accordingly.”

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