Now that the holiday season is here, workplaces will be hosting office holiday parties. While these parties usually provide a fun environment where workers can relax and get to know each other better, they can sometimes be the scene of sexual harassment and misconduct, especially when alcohol is being served.
Sexual harassment can occur at office sponsored holiday parties. Just because the event is considered a party or after hours, an employer still must provide a workplace free of sexual harassment. If you experience or witness any of the following inappropriate behaviors at a holiday office party, then you need to file a sexual harassment claim:
- Unwanted physical contact
- Gifts of the sexual nature
- Sexual remarks or jokes
- Excessive hugging
- Unwanted kisses
How Can Employers Address Sexual Harassment?
According to Ed Yost of the Society for Human Resource Management, once alcohol is introduced to office parties, “peoples' guards are dropped.” This is particularly true if the party has an open bar or a free cocktail hour. To prevent sexual harassment, employers should use these common safeguards:
- Ask bartenders to monitor and limit the number of drinks employees can have at the party
- Limit the number of free alcoholic drinks
- Offer a cash bar instead of an open bar
- Don’t hang mistletoe around the office
- Patrol hallways and check secluded areas
- Keep an eye out for people who are visibly uncomfortable
What Should I Do if I’m Sexually Harassed at an Office Party?
If you witness or experience sexual harassment at your holiday office party, you should immediately consult with an experienced employment law lawyer to discuss your options.
We Will Fight for Your Rights
Our lawyers at Bailess Smith PLLC have been serving employees for more than 40 years, and we have a stellar track record of aggressively of successfully advocating for our clients . If you have been sexually harassed at an office party or in the workplace, you should get in touch with our law firm to find out how we can use our extensive resources and knowledge of the law to represent your best interests.
Call (304) 553-0337 today to request a free consultation with one of our employment law attorneys.