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Monday, 20 October 2014

Dear Jenny

JENNY NUTTALL has been a qualified employment solicitor for five years and advises employers and employees on all aspects of employment issues. Please contact her for a free initial consultation at j.nuttall@livingstons.co.uk or 01229 585555.

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JENNY NUTTALL

Q HI, I urgently need advice in relation to our Christmas party which was on December 22.

We went to a local hotel for a meal and drinks and one of my female staff exposed herself, not only to her colleagues but to another party of guests and many of the hotel staff.

There were 30 of us at the party from work and a similar number from the other company on their Christmas do.

We know the other company as we do business with them.

The party was out of works hours and even on a different day as it was Saturday.

I don't think I can do anything as it was out of works time. Work has been on shut down ever since. I wanted to check to see if there is anything I can do before she returns to work this week?

A WE actually get asked this type of question a lot, particularly in January!

Yes there is action you can take, and must take.

Even though the incident occurred out of works hours and location, your employees must still abide by their contract of employment, essentially they are representing the company.

What this means is, if an employee has acted in such a way that you would discipline them during works time, then it is most likely that you would still be able to discipline them on a works social function.

Furthermore, if you do not, then you risk setting a precedent for future social functions.

Therefore, you should invoke your usual disciplinary procedures straight away. If you do not have any, then you must firstly invite her to an investigation meeting in writing, giving her the opportunity to bring a colleague or a trade union representative and 48 hours’ notice.

You must then proceed to make all reasonable investigation into the situation before taking the usual further steps.

The best advice is to contact me to guide you through the investigation steps as each situation depends on the particular circumstances. I look forward to hearing from you!

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