Throughout the year many organisations host / organise a staff event, some to say thanks to the staff for the hard work, some to cover a specific event such as a product launch or achievement of an award.  These events are intended to be fun and enjoyable but there can be costly results for the organisation and individuals.

There is always the potential for the organisation to be brought into disrepute at one of these events through the actions of staff.  This is becoming more prevalent with the ongoing use of social media.  Individuals have been known to post comments when slightly the worse for wear (and sometimes not) which ‘have a go’ at the organisation and / or other individuals. Pictures have also been posted with staff in compromising or none too flattering positions, this in itself may not be a problem unless the individual can be clearly linked to the organisation through comments or associated information.  In more serious cases this can lead to the dismissal of the individual and damage to the organisations reputation.

There is also the potential for the organisation itself to bear any costs of damage to another organisation / individual, as well as the individual causing the damage being held personally liable.

Many staff think that as an event is outside of normal working times and also not on working premises that they can do as they wish, after all “what’s my own time got to do with work!”.  Whilst staff have the right to a private life they must also be aware of their general responsibilities to the organisation and the ‘duty of care’.

Organisations should ensure their HR policies (e.g. discipline, social media, etc) are in place and effectively communicated to staff so that staff are fully aware of their responsibilities and that employment law still applies outside of the workplace.

These events should be a time of celebration, let’s hope that’s the case.

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