5 tips to make sure everyone has a happy Christmas at work
Is Christmas ‘PC’?
Employees are protected from discrimination based on religion or belief, but this doesn’t mean neutralising Christmas altogether! All workers are entitled to dignity in the workplace, which means respecting all faiths. Common sense and a degree of sensitivity for the feelings of others have more place at work than political correctness.
‘Secret Santa’ gifts
By all means, let employees buy a funny present but get them to think carefully before buying something that might offend. What may seem humourous to you could be viewed as a joke at others’ expense. As a sense check, ask givers to put themselves in the recipient’s shoes and imagine how they would feel.
The Christmas party
Although the Christmas party may take place away from the workplace, and sometimes even in employees’ own time, it’s still connected with work. Employers are responsible for much of what goes on and can still be liable for bullying, harassment and discrimination at the Christmas party. Employees should therefore be advised on sensible conduct and alcohol consumption and reminded that appropriate employee conduct work policies continue to apply at the event.
Photos and social media
Remember not to post photos on social media sites without the informed consent of the people in the pictures. If someone in the photo complains, they would be entitled to bring a grievance against the person posting that photo. Also, publishing compromising photos or employees making derogatory comments about their employer could have a negative impact on the company’s reputation. In either case, these actions may result in disciplinary action, depending on the company’s policies.
The Christmas ‘wind-down’
Some employers may be more relaxed during the festive period, for example, organising a late start after the Christmas party, allowing employees to bring their kids into the office, or granting extended team lunches. However, you’d be advised not to take any of this for granted! Remember that employers are entitled to insist on normal working hours and obligations, just as employees expect to receive full pay without deductions for unauthorised time off.
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