So much is written in the media each year reminding (and warning) employers of the potential liabilities of hosting a holiday party for employees, that, as a lawyer, I wonder why an employer would take on such potential liability. The benefit to an employer of having such an event would have to be significant to justify such risks.
One of the key elements needed to ensure accountability is reporting the right statistics and metrics. Each user department is responsible for ensuring that its information technology needs are addressed, and the IT department is responsible for providing overall cost-effectiveness, quality and coordination. The IT department can play its role by ensuring that IT metrics are captured and disseminated. User departments and the IT department must both be involved; neither may be permitted to abdicate its responsibilities.
One aspect of the law relating to termination of employment that has developed in recent years is the obligation of an employer to fairly and thoroughly investigate alleged misconduct before taking disciplinary action. Several decisions over the past few years have made it clear that if an employer fails to investigate, or fails to investigate properly, before dismissing an employee for cause, they are likely to face damages for wrongful dismissal, as well as extraordinary damages relating to the matter of dismissal and the impact on the employee.