The atmosphere in workplaces across the United States has been altered by the influx of sexual harassment accusations in the news. Amid the #MeToo movement, many business owners are eliminating holiday parties. Others are keeping the holiday office party but are not allowing alcohol to be consumed. Opinions about this vary dramatically from person to person, but one thing we can all agree on is that every employee deserves to be treated with respect at their workplace.
Inappropriate Behavior at Office Parties is Not a New Phenomenon
Countless sitcom episodes have relied on holiday office party shenanigans to drive the plot. The holiday office party has become almost synonymous with drinking too much and making a fool of yourself. In television shows and movies, there are rarely consequences for those who make sexual advances toward other employees. However, in real life, unprofessional or sexually-charged behavior during a Christmas party can result in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
A 2010 survey of employees found that 40 percent of respondents admitted to either witnessing inappropriate behavior at a work party or engaging in inappropriate behavior themselves. Nearly a quarter of employees surveyed said that they or another coworker were reprimanded because of an incident at a holiday party. 11 percent of respondents reported that they or another employee had been fired as a result of the misconduct....