Status: 09.12.2023, 20:00 PM
By: Christoph Heuser
Hohoho: Watch out at the company Christmas party © Robert Schlesinger / dpa
December is also the time of Christmas celebrations. But celebrating properly has to be learned. Wrong behavior can quickly lead to nasty consequences.
Labour courts always have to deal with Christmas parties. There are many reasons for this. Uninvited workers, binge drinking and its consequences, or even harassment. Our tips will keep you up to date.
1. Please invite everyone
The company offers a Christmas party voluntarily. But when it comes to celebrations, everyone must be invited – including exempt workers. The only exception is an "objective reason", as it is called in German. The Labour Court of Cologne (8 Ca 5233/16) assumes an objective reason if there are concrete indications that the individual employee is disrupting the event.
2. The celebration can also be working time
If the Christmas party falls within a period in which people normally work, this counts as working time. Outside of regular working hours, however, it is free time.
3. Participation is (mostly) voluntary
Of course, attending the Christmas party is voluntary, isn't it? Not necessarily. Again, it depends on the time period. If the party takes place during normal working hours, it is considered working time. If you don't want to party, you should at least keep working. If you just don't show up or go home, you're committing working time fraud. There could be at least one warning for this.
4. Gifts for those who stayed at home
Employers should also treat everyone equally when it comes to gifts. This doesn't just apply to the employees who join in the celebrations. The Regional Labour Court of Cologne (Az. 11 Sa 845/13) has ruled that gifts must also be given to those who stayed at home. Specifically, it was about an iPad Mini. The employer had previously announced that the participants of the Christmas party would receive a tablet.
Customer goes to Edeka and Aldi one after the other and chooses "rip-off of the day"
Millions of motorists will pay more insurance from 2024 – these models are affected
Fireworks on New Year's Eve 2023: date for sale of firecrackers and rockets
Tested by Ökotest and Stiftung Warentest: These are the best detergents of the year
Kaufland closes several stores – these locations are now being hit
Fancy a voyage of discovery?
5. Alcohol and its consequences
Caution is advised here. First of all, everyone is responsible for how much they drink. If the employer encourages drinking by making alcohol freely available, it must take precautions for the safety of employees. These can be transport options, for example. It is not a good idea for employees to continue partying on the company premises after the event and vomiting there after four more bottles of wine. Two men were dismissed for this reason. And when you take off your clothes in front of the staff and jump into a river? This can endanger colleagues who rush to help. And that disturbs industrial peace, says the Düsseldorf Regional Labour Court (Az. 3 Sa 211/23).
6. Permission for photos and videos
After a long evening, it is difficult to estimate who took how many photos from the Christmas party. And also in what state you yourself were at the time. Under no circumstances may pictures be taken and uploaded at will. Anyone who is depicted can then legitimately complain. It therefore makes sense to ask beforehand whether anyone has anything against photos and videos being taken.
7. There is no pardon for harassment
Anyone who is assaulted by a colleague must expect to be dismissed without notice. This also applies to stupid remarks that are sexually harassing. For example, the Elmshorn Labour Court (case no. 3 Ca 1501 e/22) confirmed the dismissal of an employee who said to a colleague at a party: "We can turn her upside down and pull the bank card through the slot."