Sexual harassment warning issued by Small Firms Association as Christmas party season booms
The Small Firms Association (SFA) has issued a warning to small businesses it said it received numerous calls from its members dealing with sexual harassment, harassment and bullying grievances in the run-up to Christmas.
The body also said it had been contacted in relation to conflict issues that arose at Christmas parties.
It is advising companies to ensure they have sufficient anti bullying and harassment policies.
According to the results of a recent SFA survey, 89pc of member companies said they have correct procedures in place.
However, the SFA is advising firms to re-issue such policies.
"Staff parties can show our employees some due appreciation at the end of a busy year," said SFA director Patricia Callan.
"We all understand the benefits of a social outing on team building too."
She added that these social events also have the potential to provide a context for inappropriate behaviour that could have serious repercussions.
"We recommend managing the alcohol intake of your staff with drink vouchers or a limited bar tab, rather than offering an unrestricted free bar," Ms Callan added.
"The employer is fully responsible and held liable for incidents that happen at Christmas parties, even if the party is off-site and out of hours," said Ms Callan.