Southport employers urged to ensure their business survives the office party

Southport employers urged to ensure their business survives the office party

Southport employers are being reminded of their legal responsibilities when it comes to protecting their staff at Christmas parties.

Lindsey Knowles, employment law solicitor at Kirwans law firm, which has offices across Southport, Liverpool and Wirral, is urging employers to set out strict recommendations in relation to the office party, in an attempt to avoid altercations occurring that could lead to potential claims against the business.

The warning comes as companies across the region prepare for this year’s festive celebrations, with employees and their bosses alike looking forward to the chance to let their hair down.

However, Lindsey warns that not all businesses realise the legal responsibility they have to ensure that their employees are protected at such events.

She said: “In the run-up to Christmas, most people look forward to enjoying a drink with colleagues and celebrating the festive season.

“Often though, alcohol and work can prove an unhealthy mix, and a booze-fuelled party can easily lead to personal injury, sexual harassment or discrimination by members of their staff for which the employer can be held responsible – or vicariously liable.

“In fact, the Court of Appeal heard such a case last week, and subsequently ruled that a recruitment agency was vicariously liable for the actions of its managing director after he punched one of his employees, causing him brain damage, at a Christmas party.”

According to Lindsey, however, there is a defence for companies that can prove they took all possible steps to prevent the act from occurring.

“Businesses can’t possibly prepare for every eventuality, but there are actions they can take to protect both their employees and their business so that the festive celebrations act as a conduit to bring the team together – rather than cause ructions that tear it apart.”