Lawyers have warned that as the Christmas party season gets well and truly underway, it could end in a flood of writs and court cases. It may be the season to be jolly, but we can all fall foul of legislation.
Christmas celebrations in the office or workplace sometimes hold untold hidden legal dangers, even despite the best of intentions. With some sensible precautions in place we should all be able to enjoy the run-up to Christmas, and arguing that we shouldn’t have to think about such things is no defence if we overstep the mark.
For example, bosses who hand out gifts to their hard working employees should consider what is harmless and what may cause offence. A bottle of wine or whisky could seriously upset members of certain religious groups, such as Muslims who do not drink. This could be viewed as harassment or indirect discrimination and could open up bosses to legal claims. Equally tricky are gifts of baskets of food, particularly if any of it is non-kosher or not halal.
The office Secret Santa is potentially even more hazardous as bosses have less control. Lawyers suggest managers give a gentle reminder to employees about inappropriate gifts and to discipline anyone who crosses the line.
Christmas decorations are another potential nightmare. That singing-and-dancing Santa or the lovely Christmas lights may not be covered under the company’s property insurance policy, which could then be invalidated as a result. If the system overloads and the building burns down, the employer may find he has to compensate the landlord without the help of insurers.
However ‘Bah Humbug’ this may all sound, we are morally and ethically bound to follow legislation. It is better to take a few precautions and keep the office in business to be able to enjoy the New Year. When it comes to insurance, get advice – one quick call should suffice. At Westhill Insurance Services we have a team of professional and friendly advisors who can advise on all aspects of insurance to keep your possessions, staff and business safe throughout the year.
So whilst you are watching out for the special Secret Santa gift and presenting presents to your staff and clients, with a little careful thought you will be able to enjoy the festive season.