Memo to Employees on arrangements during the World Cup Period: 12 June 2014 – 13 July 2014

Dear Employee/Name,

The World Cup 2014 is here, and [Company] has put in place various measures to ensure that it is an enjoyable time for all employees, football fans and non-football fans alike.

However we still have to ensure that the business runs efficiently during this time, so I am sure you appreciate the need to act responsibly with regards to time off, sickness absence and holiday requests over the coming weeks.

Enjoying the matches

Please let us know in advance if you would like to take annual leave or to work flexibly during the World Cup.  [As a benefit to employees, it will be possible to request time off at shorter notice than normal by giving [XX] days notice.  The number of people who may be allowed to take time off at the same time will be at the discretion of [local management].  This benefit is available to all employees, regardless of whether or not they are taking time off to watch football matches.]

[We have created a Short Notice Flexible Working Request Form, see your manager for details.  If you would like to take annual leave or work flexibly during the World Cup period, please indicate this on the form, and send it back to [Name].

[We will be screening selected matches in the [state area], see notice boards for further details.  [You may watch the match at an external venue, with prior permission from your Manager; however, you must take annual leave or make up the time before or after work.]]

The flexible working arrangements offered here are temporary only and should not be confused with a permanent change to your working arrangements through the Company Flexible Working Scheme.  Any changes granted will be in line with other temporary flexible working arrangements such as those for childcare.

[We have relaxed our normal Internet Policy to allow employees to follow matches whilst at work.  This will operate on a discretionary basis and any abuse of this privilege will lead to its withdrawal and possible disciplinary action. Speak to local management for further advice.]

The following [Area]will be designated a football-free environment.]

[You may wear team shirts or strips during match days/ normal company dress code applies during the event]

[You may/may not display wall charts, flags or other decorations at your work station or place of work]

Conduct during the World Cup 2014 period

Employees should be aware that our normal Sickness and Absence Policies will apply.  Days taken off sick will be followed up with a return to work interview, unauthorised absences will not be paid and may lead to disciplinary action being taken.  If you are tempted to come in late after late night matches or post-match celebrations, please be mindful of the fact that normal working hours apply, and late starts will [not be acceptable/may be agreed in advance with your Manager as long as the time is made up]

Being under the influence of alcohol/drugs at work will not be tolerated.  Please refer to our Drugs and Alcohol Policies for guidance.  If you are unfit or incapable for work through the consumption of alcohol/drugs, this will be dealt with as a disciplinary matter under our Disciplinary Policy.

Any form of offensive behaviour, harassment or unlawful discrimination as a result of employees following different teams will not be tolerated.  Any instances of this behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy.  Breaches of the Equality and Diversity Policy will be dealt with under the Disciplinary Policy and will lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal for serious incidents.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on the issues raised in this memo.

We hope you enjoy the event,



Is an Employer responsible for incidents outside work and the workplace?

Employees fight after a Christmas Party.

You may think that employees are off-duty come the Christmas Party, but your New Year hangover could be dealing with the aftermath of arguments and worse still, claims of discrimination or harassment.

A Tribunal looked into the case of an employee punching another employee after last year’s Christmas Party, here are some details and 9 points to help you avoid potential problems.

Read on…

Following their Christmas Party, Mr Gimson was walking home with a group of colleagues when he had a disagreement with one and punched another in the face without any provocation, causing serious injury.

The employer followed their disciplinary procedure (correctly – important!), which resulted in Mr Gimson being dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct. Mr Gimson appealed the dismissal; however the original decision to dismiss was upheld.

Mr Gimson claimed unfair dismissal. He argued that the incident was not misconduct because it happened outside work and therefore outside the employment relationship, and that he received an inconsistent sanction because the other colleagues involved in the incident were not dismissed.

The Tribunal applied guidance from case law to determine the outcome and found:

• that the employer, following a reasonable investigation, had a genuine belief that Mr Gimson assaulted a member of staff after a work event.

They disagreed with Mr Gimson that the incident was not in the course of employment. They agreed that the events after the work Christmas party were sufficiently closely connected to work to have had an impact on the working situation. It was as a result of the work Christmas party that Mr Gimson and some of his colleagues were walking home together.

• The Tribunal decided that the action the Company had taken was fair and reasonable in the circumstances, given that there was no evidence of provocation, neither of the other employees had hit anyone and both were apologetic over the incident. Mr Gimson on the other hand showed no remorse over the incident and attempted to deflect blame on the other parties involved.

It is important for employers to remember that they are vicariously responsible for the actions of their employees if those actions are deemed to have been committed ‘in the course of employment’. This will depend on whether or not there is a clear link between the employment relationship and the off-duty conduct.

One way to look at it is through the “but for” test. “But for” work, would this incident have occurred? It clearly extends “work” into social situations.

Enjoy yourself…but!!!!

A Christmas Party is one way for employers to thank their employees for working hard all year. However, whilst no employer wants to spoil the fun, it is important to remember that managers must remain responsible and ensure their staff do not take the festive spirit too far.

To help avoid potential problems, think about some of the following;

1. Remember that this is a company event, just like any other and you are responsible for every aspect of it, and even perhaps vicariously responsible for the actions of those attending. Consider a limit on “free alcohol” provided by the Employer; perhaps the first drink or wine on the table with the meal.

2. Remind staff beforehand about your Disciplinary Policy and the standards of behaviour that are expected to be maintained at any company events.

3. Circulate your Alcohol and Drug Policy, which should cover matters such as drinking/possessing alcohol at work, and the rules on alcohol or drugs in the workplace. Remind those in safety critical and driving roles that they need to report fit for work the next day!

4. Consider circulating other policies (Bribery?) which cover corporate gifts and entertaining as well as expense claims, (especially if they are MP’s!)

5. Ensure that there are non-alcoholic options available for drivers, non-drinkers and also to cover those who don’t drink for religious or health related reasons.

6. Consider the suitability of any entertainment provided – what can appear ‘funny’ in a party environment could prove to be embarrassing in the New Year, or even offensive to some.

7. Ensure food served is suitable for all those attending and covers vegetarians, food allergies and religious considerations.

8. Consider whether any of the management team need to refrain from drinking alcohol to ‘keep an eye’ on things, and can deal with any issues with a “clear head”.

9. Remind managers that they must uphold company standards.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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To find out how Employment Law Training Limited can help, get in touch:

Derek Eccleston MA FCIPD
01789 470700