Beware the perils of the Christmas party

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​Love it or loathe it, the Christmas office party can often end in tears.

​According to the ​Forum of Private Business​, members have already called in for advice as a result of arguments that ​broke out at the Christmas Party​.

​The Forum’s Managing Director Ian Cass ​said​: “With their mix of drink, high spirits and merriment, Christmas parties are still a source of potential problems for employees and employers if everyone does not act with some level of common sense.

“However this is not to say that the best course of action is to cancel the party as putting on an event can really improve staff morale and improve communications between employees that last well after the festive period fades. It has a financial upside to as up to £150 per head of the cost of holding the party is an allowable tax deduction and VAT can also be recovered on staff entertaining expenditure so can be a cost effective way of retaining staff.”

As a result the Forum is reminding business owners and employees to be aware of the seasonal dangers that could potentially leave then with a nasty financial hangover long after the decorations have been taken down.

In order to comply with workplace legislation, the Forum is advising business owners to:

• Avoid pressurising staff to attend Christmas parties. Some staff may not want to attend due to factors such as a general abstinence from drink, dietary issues or for religious reasons

• Let staff attending parties know in advance what acceptable standards of behaviour are expected of them. Make it clear that your usual disciplinary policies apply, even if the party is being held away from the workplace.

• Watch out for drug use! Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it is an offence for an employer to permit or even ignore drug use on their premises. Drug use in the workplace may also constitute a breach of health and safety regulations.

• Make it clear to staff if they are expected to turn up for work as normal the following day, hangover or not. Also don’t forget to by example – research suggests that senior managers are more likely to call in sick the day after a Christmas party than junior staff​.

Diary is intrigued to know what you’ve been up to at your Christmas parties. Let us know at ​greg.wright@ypn.co.uk

​Staff at Yorkshire law firm Chadwick​ ​Lawrence have entered into the spirit of the season by holding a mock trial of the rats, the infamous villains from pantomime Dick Whittington.

A seasonal favorite, Dick Whittington is playing this Christmas at Theatre Royal Wakefield, where Chadwick Lawrence is a Gold Sponsor.

The trial, held in Wakefield Town Hall’s Old Court Room, was set up ahead of the evening showing attended by 50 staff from​ ​Chadwick Lawrence, which has offices in Wakefield, Huddersfield, Leeds and Halifax.

Litigation ​p​artner at the firm, Tim Welton, said: “We are very proud to support a number of different institutions across Yorkshire, covering everything from charity, to sport and the arts. Our long standing relationship with Theatre Royal Wakefield is one we are particularly proud of.

“It enables us to bring the staff out of the office and have a bit of fun.”

Jon Ingham, ​h​ead of ​f​undraising and ​p​artnerships, said: “It was a pleasure to judge our young pantomime cast members Millie Close, Isla Bowles, Izabel Dalton and Charlotte Carr, who were of course found guilty of bringing festive frivolity to tens of thousands of people this Christmas.”

Millie, Isla, Izabel, Charlotte and the rest of the cast​ will​ appear in Dick Whittington at Theatre Royal Wakefield until Sunday January​ 3.

Lionel Lennox​, a director at ​law firm ​Lupton Fawcett Denison Till​, ​has been granted the honorary title of ​“​Canon Provincial​“​ of York.

​The presentation took place at Evensong in which The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, presented Mr Lennox and three other new canons to the Dean of York for Admission.