Employment Law
Employment Law

The Office Christmas Party and Explosive Cockctails

Yep it’s party time again, the Christmas party that is, and the boss is paying. And this is all happening at a time when the pressure on families, employees and many businesses owners is very high. Potentially this is an explosive cocktail which often produces Christmas sackings.

Most employment lawyers and advocates can tell stories of Christmas sackings. They normally involve the Christmas party, too much to drink and a frank conversation between an employee and the employer; or worse the employer’s partner.

The question “What is Bill like as a boss?” is dangerous, as Frank, the Account Manager found out. He replied to Bill’s partner “He really gets in our way and but for him this business would be a success”. Encouragingly she said “I know what you mean. He gets in my way at home as well”. They had bonded so Frank thought. He replied quietly “Thank God I am not the only one who thinks he is bloody incompetent”. On Saturday morning sober, she said to Bill “Do you know what Frank said to me…. On Monday morning as Bill passed Frank’s desk he said “I hear you spoke to my wife at the party. Come into my office. I understand there is something you want to say to me.”

One of the more crazy slurred outbursts from an employee (I shall call him Max) at a Christmas party was “You are the worse (beep) boss I’ve ever had and every morning I (beep) hate coming to (beep) work”. The predictable response from his boss was “Well you won’t have to worry about that any (beep) more because you no longer have a (beep) job”. Not to be outdone Max responded “Don’t bother mate, you can stick your (beep) job where the sun doesn’t shine”. This powerful meteorological metaphor was most appropriate. Both had forgotten Mary, Max’s wife, a woman of few words but known for bringing down fork lightning and thunder should she not be pleased.

The following day Max presented himself at our office, storm battered and the words “Max do you understand me” still ringing in his ears. Mary attended as well. Her words impressed me: She said “I expect you to get him his job back”. I didn’t blink. I phoned the employer immediately and said “If you don’t agree to reinstate Max I will send him and Mary down to see you”. This produced an immediate response. Max was to return to work but he was not to bring Mary with him.

So just remember when attending the Christmas party, you should not be frank or tell your boss and definitely the boss’ partner what you think of him or her. And if you are the boss, remember that for every Max you employ there could be a Mary at home.

Have a good party everyone and Merry Christmas.

Published on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, under Blog

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