The work Christmas party can be the highlight event of the year. As an employer, it is important to have the correct protections in place to prevent any claims stemming from the behaviour of your employees.

VWV takes a look at three top tips to save you from a Christmas-party headache:

1. Be aware of the risk of claims

Do you know that an employer can be liable for the acts committed by an employee even if you are not the primary wrongdoer, if there is a sufficient connection between the unlawful acts and the employee's employment? This is known as 'vicarious liability'.

For example, if one of your employees assaulted another employee at your Christmas party, the employer could be liable for that assault.

Bear in mind that events that occur after the formal work-event has ended, such as post-Christmas party drinks, are not necessarily beyond the scope of 'vicarious liability'.

2. Ensure you have appropriate policies in place

It is important to have appropriate and robust disciplinary policies in place covering the standards of behaviour expected of your employees at work parties, outlining examples of the types of unacceptable behaviours.

3. Take steps to prevent your employees behaving badly

Making your employees aware of these policies, including the consequences if the standards of behaviour are not adhered to, is imperative.

In addition, consider putting appropriate training in place to cover equal opportunities, bullying and harassment and standards of conduct, as well as policies for social media use at work and outside work, before the big day.

  • Michael Delaney is an employment law partner at award-winning law firm VWV, with offices on Clarendon Road, Watford