A number of Christmas parties up and down the country are likely to take place during the next week – and for businesses it’s a good way to celebrate the year with colleagues.

Now we don’t want to be Scrooge as we like a party as much as everyone else, but a fun and relaxed atmosphere can make it very easy to over indulge on alcohol and these events are never without risk of inappropriate behaviour.

Sadly Christmas parties can generate a number of serious issues for employers. UK adults are thought to consume 40% more alcohol over the Christmas period than any other time of the year.

As well as employers’ potential liability for employees’ behaviour under vicarious liability principles, employers also bear liability for acts of discrimination and harassment by staff.

Employers should take active steps to minimise the risk of incidents occurring, such as issuing reminders of expected behaviour and appointing a ‘responsible individual’ to oversee the party. It is essential that employees arrange transport or accommodation after the party as to not be in danger of drink driving, and to mitigate potential legal liability to the employer.

We hope your Christmas party goes well.