Can you get sacked after a Work Christmas Party?
Posted on 9th December 2019
In the month of December, weekends for bar workers are generally filled with Christmas Work Parties: sadly, not usually their own.
So, you can image what sort of things they see, when the alcohol starts flowing and people start talking.
If you’re getting ready for your Christmas works do this time of year, take note: you can be fired for something that happens at your Christmas party!
The unfortunate truth, however, is that when you leave work at 5pm, and you hit the town at 6pm for a Christmas-blowout with your work colleagues, you can still be classed as on-the-clock, and your actions could lead to you being fired, if you’re not careful.
Sadly, for employers, this means that they could be vicariously liable for your actions so, for example, if you choose to assault somebody on a work night out, your employer could be liable for their injuries. You may not care about this, but it could also lead to your losing your job! And, equally as important, you could face criminal charges, for those of you wondering.
So, what should you not do on your night out?
Well, for example, you should steer clear of any acts of violence. This shouldn’t just apply to your Christmas do, though, you should really steer clear of any acts of violence at any time of the year! If you’re involved in a violent act, you could be facing dismissal due to gross misconduct.
Another thing to stay clear of during your party, and during the rest of your life, for obvious reasons, is anything illegal. It might seem like a good idea to bring recreational drugs to the party, but – and we cannot stress this enough – it really isn’t. Again, your employers could instantly dismiss you, and you could face criminal consequences.
In some cases, it might seem like ‘banter’ when you get so drunk that you’re still feeling it (and by it, we mean wasted) the morning after the night before. You’re sat at your desk, telling your colleagues about how drunk you are and what a good night you had. STOP. Turning up drunk at work could lead to dismissal, especially if you’re in a job which requires you to drive or operate machinery. On top of that, think about your safety, and that of your colleagues: you could be causing a health and safety hazard!
So, can you just be sacked there and then?
Well, as your employment contract provides you with responsibilities, it likewise affords you a certain amount of protection; you can’t normally be sacked on the spot. However, Employment law specialist Philip Pepper, told the mirror.co.uk that if you take your employer to an employment tribunal, they made side with your employer if there was ‘gross misconduct’ and therefore your employer would, effectively, get away with it.
So, what is gross misconduct?
Well, our principal solicitor, Mark Gregory, based out of our solicitors’ office in Garstang, would explain that some of the things that come under the umbrella of ‘gross misconduct’ can include:-
• Physical violence or bullying
• Causing loss or damage through negligence
• Serious health and safety violations (such as operating machinery drunk)
• Serious incapacity at work due to alcohol or drugs
• Unlawful discrimination
What’s the moral of the story?
Just because your outside of office opening hours, it doesn’t mean you’re completely disassociated with your job. For example, if you’re caught doing something detrimental to the businesses’ reputation, such as by wearing a work uniform and getting into a fight, which is broadcast over the news, you could face penalties!
Whilst our solicitors in Garstang don’t generally deal with employment, if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence on a work Christmas do, we can help; call our team on 01995 602 129, or email email@example.com.
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