Companies Nix Holiday Parties Amid Sexual Harassment Fears

(WWJ) Eleven percent of companies who responded to a national human resources survey reported they’re nixing the annual holiday party amid concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., found that recent headlines about unwanted sexual advances by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and others, may be to blame.

But many others will move forward with the annual tradition, throwing out the rule that like oil and water, open bars and coworkers should stay separated.

Attorney Courtney Nichols with Plunkett Cooney says indoor pine trees, gift wrappers — and sexual harassment lawsuits — are just a few things that were leftover from the holidays in metro Detroit last year.

“The day after Christmas last year I got a call about a company where a manager had propositioned an employee in the elevator after a party,” Nichols said.

Don’t be that person.

Nichols warns office party goers to stay responsible, especially if you work in management.

“You want to have leadership display the proper sort of behavior,” Nichols said.

But don’t rely on the managers to take care of every little thing, she said. Co-workers should also help out their friends if they sense they’ve been overserved.

“If you do see something stop it in a polite friendly way. If a guy’s too drunk, take him outside gently and say ‘hey man, you’ve had enough, let’s take care of this for you.'”

Lawyer Patrick Hickey has more advice.

“Avoid the after party, if you can have your party somewhere where there’s no after party, that is a good start,” Hickey said.

 

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