Today we announce tip #10 in our “12 tips to Christmas!”  This is a mini survival guide which both business owners and employees may find useful to get them through the festive season without too much trouble!

Tip 10– Don’t Make Promises!

During the run up to Christmas, many of us will be in a jovial mood as we enjoy the celebrations. During the office Christmas party or a work social event, we may begin to relax a little, perhaps enjoying a drink or two with colleagues. In this social context, employers can sometimes say things which in the cold light of day and when sober, they may regret.

In one case, an employee resigned and claimed constructive dismissal as he alleged that his manager, during a chat at the office Christmas party, had promised him a salary increase “in due course.” Based on the facts in this case, the employee’s claim was unsuccessful as this promise was too vague and uncertain as to amount to a binding contractual promise.

Although the employee was not successful in this case, this should not be interpreted to mean that things said at a work social event cannot be intended to create legally binding commitments because on a similar but different set of facts, the outcome could be very different. This case serves as an important lesson to employers that it is best not to discuss career prospects or remuneration with employees on such occasions, even if it is done with the best of intentions. Also, from an employee’s point of view, it is always preferable to have such discussions in a formal context where they can be properly noted.

Continue to follow us on FB and Twitter @TalemLaw as we publish our penultimate Christmas tip!

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