The New Year presents a great opportunity to critically review your organisation’s workplace relations infrastructure and arrangements, to ensure that these are working to sufficiently protect the organisation’s interests.
Misconduct in the workplace can be a tricky matter for employers to deal with, which is often made more difficult due to Christmas shut downs and staff annual leave. There are 5 steps that an employer should consider when investigating misconduct and deciding to take disciplinary action to mitigate the risk that an employee (either the person alleged to have engaged in misconduct, or the person on the receiving end of that conduct) will mount legal claims.
As the year draws to a close, employers may choose to give employees bonuses, gift cards or something similar, usually as a way of recognising the past year’s work and achievements. While this practice is often positive in that it can increase morale and motivation, employers should ensure appropriate policies and procedures are in place to prevent well-meaning gifts from becoming gremlins.
Some employees may see the Christmas period as an opportunity to focus more on festive season activities and less on work. Employees may spend excessive time away from the office, having lunch or Christmas shopping. Other employees may spend excessive time online, shopping for Christmas presents or planning Christmas activities, or excessive time decorating the office. These types of behaviours can be difficult for employers to manage, without appearing Grinch-like and while still ensuring staff morale remains positive over the busy Christmas period.
The lead up to Christmas is often a busy time, with many employers managing extended trading hours or trying to finalise projects or tasks before the holidays. This may result in employees being required to work longer hours or on weekends.
As we whiz through the festive season towards Christmas, employers should be mindful of any workplace conduct that may constitute direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of an employee’s religion.
Annual leave over the Christmas period can be difficult to manage. For some employers, the Christmas period may be a period of slow trade. For others, it may be the busiest time of the year, requiring all hands on deck.