The 12 Employment Law Questions of Christmas: Day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas, HR were asked, when do you say “no more” to the Christmas decorations?

And HR said to me...a giant light up turkey is just too much for the Christmas tree!

It is a common misconception that Christmas decorations should be banned for breaching health and safety rules. That said, employers need to be alive to the potential risk that decorations could post and ensure they carry out a proper risk assessment and set clear parameters on what is permitted – no fairy light cables lying across walkways for instance - so that they do not fall foul of health and safety rules.

For many organisations, employees in the run up to Christmas will spend a substantial amount of time in the workplace. As such, spreading the festive cheer can help to boost staff morale and create a reinvigorated workplace. Decorating communal areas and employees’ workspaces can also bring a team together and encourage a small dose of friendly festive competition.

However, employers should remain alert to potential discriminatory issues. Employers should remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas. As such, they should be mindful as to the type of decorations encouraged and ensure that those employees who do not celebrate Christmas still feel involved in the office activities. Equally, for those that do celebrate Christmas, employers should be respectful of the religious connotations of Christmas and remind employees that offensive decorations should not be permitted.

Employers are encouraged to use a common-sense approach, if it wouldn’t be seen on your granny’s tree it is probably not appropriate for the workplace. With many offices now offering hybrid working and desk hopping, it is likely that the era of the 'desk tinsel' has been and gone. However, there is nothing to stop managers encouraging their team to share the fun of an advent calendar or to get involved in decorating the wider office. You won’t see any giant lit up turkeys at Shoosmiths this year, but you will see some exquisite looking trees.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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