COVID may be dominating the headlines again this Christmas, the “O” word specifically, but that doesn’t mean that all festivities are off the table. Whether you get your feel-good fix from terrestrial TV or one of many streaming platforms, you can almost guarantee that bells will be jingling, and carollers will be carolling throughout your end of year viewing schedule.
What’s this got to do with HR?
We have noticed a few careless characters and troubling storylines, which if re-enacted would make for some very risky business. Even Father Christmas has a “workshop” and best practice HR still applies to keep businesses and people safe.
So, before another COVID update comes out, escape for a minute with our alternative endings to some well-known Santa storylines. If any of these sound familiar, remember that we’re here to help.
The Santa Clause
SPOILER ALERT: When THE Santa Claus slips and falls off Scott Calvin’s roof, Scott, played by Tim Allen is unknowingly recruited to replace him when trying on Santa’s suit. Adamant that he is not the man for the job and demanding an explanation from Santa’s elves, he is shown the “Santa clause” in the small print. A legally binding clause which changes the course of his life from that moment onwards. Oh, and in the meantime, he is still working for his previous employer, whilst gaining weight and turning into Santa.
In an alternative universe, Scott’s employer becomes concerned by his changing appearance and behaviour. After a cup of tea and a chat, they realise that he is under a lot of strain from work and could do with some support. Luckily their Employee Assistance Programme offers counselling to deal with his tricky legal issues. Additionally, their new cycle to work scheme gives him the confidence to bounce back into shape and face the elves in court.
When the real Santa reappears, he finds that “the list” has been replaced with a pile of employment contracts that need checking, twice.
SPOILER ALERT: Jesper has been enrolled into his father’s postman training academy but is underperforming terribly. In an attempt to change his entitled ways, his father sends Jesper abroad to the distant town of Smeerensburg, with a high-pressured project of posting six thousand letters in a year, with no help, and certainly not any employee benefits.
Busy planning world post domination, Jesper’s father failed to realise that he had engaged his son as a self-employed contractor. Jesper, seeking any loophole to escape dreary Smeerensburg brings in a substitute to complete the work for him whilst he switches flights for a sunny beach in Bermuda. Meanwhile, his father is stuck with a newbie who is less than satisfied with the lone working conditions and due to the level of control placed on him from the Postmaster General is questioning whether he should actually be classified as a worker with more rights! Cut to a postcard landing on the doormat from Jesper and an HR nightmare before Christmas for his dad.
Santa Claus: The Movie
SPOLER ALERT: Released in 1985, Santa Claus: The Movie is a Christmas classic. Dudley Moore plays Patch, an eager elf full of ideas and designs to take Santa’s production to the next level. After a competitive selection process, Patch is promoted to be his assistant. Unfortunately, things don’t go to plan and his new machine malfunctions leaving his employer, Santa Claus, with nothing but faulty gifts to deliver on the biggest night of the year. Disheartened, Patch leaves the North Pole for the big city where he ends up sharing his elf secrets with a new employer, who just so happens to be a key competitor for Santa.
What Patch failed to realise is that there was a non-compete clause in his contract. Santa, furious with the leak of workshop secrets, is getting ready for the legal battle of a lifetime. Little does he know that Patch is on a similar path with a constructive dismissal claim after getting no support in his most recent position and feeling discriminated against by his jealous co-workers. Yikes.
Mrs. Claus is trying to arrange a mediation meeting in the hope that it’s not too late to save Christmas and the dwindling value of her shares.