Christmas Part Do's and Dont's

3 Mins

Do you regret going to your Christmas work party?

Things that happen at Christmas parties can leave employees worried they still have a job on Monday morning. But what if you don’t go at all? Could your company fire you for saying “no” and staying in to watch Strictly instead?

In the UK, you can be encouraged but you can’t be forced and then fired for avoiding out-of-hours social events. However, that definition of ‘work’ and ‘social’ can get into grey areas.

A meeting in a restaurant in work hours could count as work requiring mandatory attendance. You may think it’s a social event, but an employer may define it as a work event. Best to be sure either way.

In the US though, most states are at-will employment states. So, your employment can be ended, or you can quit for any reason, at any time, unless it could fall under unlawful discrimination. That means, missing an out-of-hours Christmas party on a weekend could get you fired.

In France, there was a case brought by a former employee fined for not fitting into the company’s definition of “fun”. His grounds for dismissal were “professional inadequacy” and failure to comply with the “fun & pro” culture, which included mandatory social events on weekends.

The claimant finally won his case in November this year, concluding he had his right to freedom of expression to not take part and his right to a private life.

So, in the UK (and France) you’re legally allowed to avoid out-of-hours social events if you like.

Did your Christmas party live up to expectations?