"Managing People with Morecrofts"

Employment issues at Santa’s grotto – a Claustrophobic workplace

by Thomas Sutherland

The Christmas period is a joyful yet challenging period for most individuals! I’m sure anyone in the vicinity of excitable young children on Christmas morning will marvel at their ability to spring out of bed at 3am in comparison with the majority of school days! Despite the festive cheer (and mulled wine), the Christmas period isn’t quite as stress-free as the penguin and boy partnership in a certain popular Christmas advert suggests!

Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that however challenging the present buying becomes (what with the rugby scrums encountered in most city centres on a busy winter Saturday), it is Santa Claus himself who requires the most sympathy…

You see, as a late Christmas present to his workforce last year, Santa voluntarily agreed to adopt UK employment law. However, this has led to a few tricky situations which Santa wasn’t expecting!

Whilst the local penguins are happy to product test presents to destruction, the reindeer are on strike due to the setting of excessive performance targets relating to fitness. The rumour being that they’ve discovered, and enjoyed munching their way through, Santa’s secret stash of mince pies!

These performance targets have compounded the low morale amongst the reindeer following Rudolph’s grievance concerning bullying experienced from Dasher and Dancer about his red nose. Apparently, the addition of headlights to Santa’s sleigh has led to teasing over Rudolph’s “useless” nose and Santa has failed to suitably deal with his complaint.

Further challenges face Santa in the workshop due to him losing several elves to a certain online retailer specialising in the ‘present delivery’ sector! Whilst Santa had the sense to put non-competition clauses (a Santa ‘clause’ no less!) in their employment contracts, the elves argue that these clauses only reasonably apply to Lapland. Indeed, the online retailer in question has a name that suggests a different part of the world altogether…

This is in addition to the remaining elves requesting their holiday pay be backdated to include their substantial overtime. This has left Santa with a potential cash flow issue due to not having budgeted for these payments and not knowing how far back to backdate the pay. Santa is more than welcome to view our blog post on this as an early Christmas present from us - http://www.morecrofts.co.uk/blog/its-official-holiday-pay-should-include-overtime

Following the departure of several elves, Santa has taken to the hiring of outside talent and has interviewed humans to take their roles (Santa obviously hasn’t noted the content of the movie Elf!) Whilst one human candidate was successful, his 6 foot 7 inches height has led to teasing by the other elves and the new employee is considering discrimination action due to unfavourable treatment by elves on grounds of his different race.

The elves are in mutinous mood anyway following Alabaster Snowball’s claims of age discrimination after being passed up for promotion to Head Elf in favour of Bushy Evergreen. Alabaster had twenty years more experience than Bushy and was the most qualified candidate for the position.

Productivity has nosedived since the appointment of Bushy due to knowledge of Alabaster’s complaints amongst the workforce. Bushy’s stringent enforcement of increasing bizarre ‘Elf and Safety’ rules hasn’t helped…

The festive-based demand for presents has led to Santa being unable to provide regular hours all year round. However, he fears reducing workplace harmony further upon any attempt to introduce zero-hour contracts.

But Santa’s real problem is the scandalous rumour that he is made up to entertain children and isn’t real! This mistaken belief has led to a reduction in Christmas Spirit and concerns that his sleigh won’t fly, even with reindeer assistance.

So be sure to spare a thought for Santa Claus this Christmas! Aside from the usual issues of blocked chimneys, indigestion from one too many mince pies and a tight schedule, his biggest concerns may lead to him obtaining expert legal and HR advice from an employment solicitor to ensure Christmas isn’t cancelled…