Every year, employees throughout the country look forward to the annual holiday office party so they can socialize and have fun with co-workers. Employers often throw holiday parties to show their appreciation for the hard work and dedication of their employees. While these parties can be great for office morale, they are also synonymous with excessive alcohol consumption and unprofessional behavior due to the lax environment.
Should Alcohol Be Served at Office Parties?
At K2 Employment Law Group, we get numerous calls during the holiday season about sexual assault accusations stemming from an incident at an office holiday party. Alcohol consumption is often a contributing factor, which is why more and more employers are starting to eliminate open-bars at work-sponsored events.
Employers who decide to serve alcohol at office holiday parties should take the following safety precautions to minimize the risk of sexual harassment:
- Hire a bartender to serve alcohol to guests
- Instruct the bartender to cut off employees who have had too much to drink
- Provide a cash-bar instead of an open-bar
- Limit the number of free drinks each per person can have
- Stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends
- Serve food so employees are not drinking alcohol with an empty stomach
- Provide transportation such as Uber or Lyft for employees who intend to drink at the party
- Encourage employees to use designated drivers or public transportation
What to Do if You Have Been Sexually Harassed
The following are common examples of sexual harassment at office holiday parties:
- Giving inappropriate or sexually suggestive gifts
- Making inappropriate or sexual remarks or jokes
- Unsolicited touching, like kissing, hugging, or groping
- Making sexually suggestive comments about a co-worker’s body
- Propositioning a co-worker for sex
Employees who experience or witness sexual harassment at holiday office parties should immediately write down all the details of the incident that they can remember while it is still fresh in their heads. The incident should be reported to the company’s HR department and the employee should provide a written statement to document if the company takes corrective action. If the sexual harassment continues or the employer fails to remedy the situation, then you should discuss your case with an experienced lawyer to determine all of your options under the law.
Do you need help filing a sexual harassment claim against your employer? If so, call (800) 590-7674 today set up a free initial consultation and case review with our legal team at K2 Employment Law Group.