Businesses are being advised to remind staff of their company policies ahead of Christmas parties this month.
It's the first time large group festive celebrations have taken place since before the pandemic.
Partner, and Head of Lewis Silkin's Dublin office, Síobra Rush, says even though Christmas parties take place outside of normal working hours, company policies and employment laws still apply.
She says "it's well established that even though social events may take place outside of the workplace if they're sufficiently connected with work, and particularly if they're run by the employer for the festive season, the employer has to take reasonable steps to prevent any acts of harassment."
"This includes sexual harassment, or harassment under any of the other protected grounds, that constitute discrimination under the Employment Equality Acts. Employers are also vicariously liable, or responsible, for the acts of their employees which are done in the course of employment."
"That really means that companies should have a policy in relation to discrimination, harassment, and dignity at work."
"Employers should be very clear, and communicate to staff that certain behaviour will not be tolerated and is unlawful."
"I think when alcohol is taken, particularly in the festive season it's a good idea to warn employees just to have a good time, but it is a work-related event and they need to make sure that their behaviour is in line with expectations and the company's policies."
Career Consultant, Lynda Barry at lyndabarrycareerconsulting.com, says staff should make an effort to go to their office Christmas party, especially in the current remote and hybrid-working environment.
"It's a really good chance for you to reconnect with people, and maybe connect with other people in different teams and departments. There may be some new starters at the party who you've never met before. From my point of view, it's a great opportunity to meet old and new, and just reconnect again.
She's also encouraging people to 'tell the story rather than 'be the story'. She's advising people to 'go light' on the refreshments. She's also advising people to mingle with colleagues and try to avoid spending too much time with one person.
She's also encouraging people to familiarise themselves with the event's dress code to ensure they feel as comfortable as possible.
"For anyone who might feel nervous about attending the Christmas party, the advice is to have some casual conversation topics prepared "what are your interests or hobbies outside of work even outside that you might be able to chat through?"
"It's about being yourself because it's not an interview. You don't have to be anyone else. And people like people, so don't be afraid to chat and contribute. But equally, if you don't have anything to say, or you're not feeling confident, you can listen. Just mingling and moving around the room can also be a good way to help yourself feel more confident and connected with people."
Eoin Byrne, Global Chief People Officer at Poppulo, a global communications and workplace experience platform with offices in Cork City, says managers should create a positive atmosphere where their team feels comfortable to socialise with them at company-organised events.
Speaking personally, Mr Byrne said, "I would hate if my team felt that they couldn't relax or have a drink or dance if I was at a work event."
"I do think that there's an element of responsibility for a leader to show up at the Christmas party. Obviously, sometimes things can happen that mean you can't attend, but I feel that it's important for leadership to be there. Now, whether they need to be the last people leaving the event, that's another question."
Employmentrightsadvice.ie, says it's a good idea for companies to appoint someone as a 'designated survivor' at the Christmas party, who will remain sober and can deal with any crisis or dispute which may arise during the night.