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Employers ought to remember that they can not forget about the safety of their staff at the office Christmas party.

A court in Australia recently decided that an employee who injured her back while helping out a her employers Christmas party ought to receive compensation from her employers for the injuries she sustained. 

The female member of staff, a nurse, volunteered to help assemble and disassemble chairs and table for the Christmas party. Unfortunately, in assembling and disassembling the chairs and tables she exacerbated a pre existing back condition. The Court in Australia found that she had suffered injury during her employment even though she was not being paid by her employers to help at the party and the party was outwith office hours.  The Court found that the nurses assistance was expected and actively sought by her employers. Even though she was not being paid by her employers and the party was outside normal working hours the Court found that her employers were still responsible for her health and safety and that she remained under thier care at the time she sustained injury.

I am of the opinion that a Scottish Court is likely to have come to the same decision as the Australian court in this case.

Acas the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service has stated that it has thousands of calls regarding Christmas parties from employers and has put out guidance to answer employer’s questions and assist in making sure everyone’s annual Christmas party is enjoyed safely by everyone without repercussion.

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