Most people are excited at the prospect of a Christmas party and why not, it is the chance to socialise with your colleagues and be merry. Whilst everyone hopes to enjoy the festivities, it is important to remember the Christmas party remains a work event and if you do go ‘too far’ it could result in disciplinary action, or even dismissal.
Can You Be Disciplined For Your Behaviour At A Work Christmas Party?
Yes, you can.
Whilst the Christmas party will likely happen outside office hours, it is important to remember that it remains an extension of the workplace which means if you do behave poorly, it can cause you potential issues at work. Likewise, if you are the recipient of poor behaviour, you can report this to your employer and your employer should ensure they properly investigate/address your concerns.
What Potential Repercussions Could You Face For Poor Behaviour?
It depends on just ‘how bad’ your behaviour gets. If you are a little tipsy and throw some shocking moves on the dancefloor – the chances are you will only have an embarrassing walk into the office the next day…
It is, however, important to be mindful that your behaviour could result in disciplinary action and, at its worse, you could face a gross misconduct dismissal.
The general viewpoint is to remain mindful of the disciplinary policy and what could result in disciplinary action. I have set out below the behaviours which are considered so serious, they could amount to gross misconduct: –
- Sexual harassment.
- Fighting or violence.
- Damage to company property.
- Being drunk at work or taking drugs.
- Discriminatory behaviour.
From the examples above, you can see that gross misconduct is considered so serious you should reasonably understand that the behaviour has fallen below the expected standard.
Therefore, if any of the above examples were to happen at the Christmas party, it could lead to disciplinary action and it could result in the immediate termination of your employment. If your behaviour is fuelled by alcohol that will not be a sufficient defence.
If, consequently to the behaviour, your employment is terminated on the grounds of gross misconduct, it has the ability of forfeiting your entitlement to notice and so the only payments due to you would be your outstanding salary and accrued but untaken holiday pay, if applicable.
What Can You Do If You Are The Recipient Of Bad Behaviour?
Your employer has the same legal responsibility for what takes place at the Christmas party as they do during your normal working hours. Your employer remains vicariously liable for any action/s by their employees which means they are jointly responsible and can be held accountable. For example, if you are the recipient of unwanted sexual conduct, such behaviour could represent a sexual harassment claim under the Equality Act 2010. If this happens to you, you should immediately report the conduct and you should expect your employer to address your concerns seriously.
How Can Lincs Law Help You?
If you are concerned by your actions at the Christmas party or you have been the recipient of unacceptable behaviour – please get in touch for a no obligation free telephone call. You can get in touch by telephoning us 01522 440512 or send us an email to ContactUs@lincslaw.com and one of our employment solicitors will contact you. Alternatively, you can visit our website for more information on disciplinary action (https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/resignation-dismissal-and-redundancy/unfair-dismissal/) or you can read more on sexual harassment in the workplace (https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/workplace-problems/sex-discrimination/ ).