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Sexual Harassment and the Holidays

It's that time of year again. Time for end of year celebrations, office parties, potluck and Sexual Harassment?

Many organizations choose to celebrate the end of the year with their staff. The aforementioned office parties are a very common way to share this time.

Frequently alcoholic beverages appear at these events. These are often provided by the company or brought by the guests. And with alcohol comes the attendant problems of loosened inhibitions or even drunken behavior.

Of course, these are ripe opportunities for sexual harassment incidents to occur. Even well-trained staffers sometimes forget their sexual harassment training and can step over the line. Sometimes they don't even remember doing it until it's too late. has the following recommendations for supervisors during this period:
  • Reminder staffers that even though this is a celebratory event, it's still a work event. And normal expected standards of behavior still apply.
  • If alchohol is available, try to keep a careful eye on the amount consumed. Minimize it as much as possible, by limiting the amount of time the alchohol is served and not allowing hard alchohol. 
  • If there are staffers with whom you've had a problem in the past, you might want to take them aside before the event and remind them of their responsibilities.
  • If possible have some responsible supervision to make sure that staffers act in a responsible way. These people definitely should not imbibe alchohol.
The holidays are definitely a time to celebrate, but it's also important for people in the organization to continue to act respectfully to one another. 
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