HomeNEWSAmid Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Company Holiday Parties Are Sobering Up This Year
Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Company Holiday Parties Are Sobering Up This Year
Dec 5, 2017
Many businesses are feeling the tension and worry caused by all of the sexual misconduct scandals. Instead of confronting the sexual misconduct head on with better reporting and consequence handling or even education, businesses are making changes to their holiday staff parties. Many bosses are tightening the purse strings on alcohol supplied to their company parties and are also hiring party monitors as well. They’re doing everything in their power to make sure the parties don’t become a target for any issues.
Letting Loose. TV and movies have long depicted the company holiday party as the one night a year where everyone is allowed to get crazy, and normally does. Alcohol flowed freely and people let loose without a care for consequences. Those days seem to be gone.
Solutions? Many employers aren’t trying to find solutions to the problems. They don’t seem to realize that these allegations are an opportunity to address and even fix problems in their own companies. Instead they’re doing everything in their power to protect their company holiday party.
Cut Down. Many companies have cut down on the amount of booze allowed at their parties. Some are even outlawing alcohol completely.
Chaperones. A few companies have employed the use of party monitors, or adult chaperones. They’ll be there to keep a lookout for any inappropriate behavior. For obvious reasons, the hanging of mistletoe is warned against.
Rowdy. Regular office parties can get nearly as rowdy as their media counterparts. It’s usually hard for people to know what work rules apply to the party or not especially when people drink.
Introduce Alcohol. Manager of employee relations and development for the Society for Human Resource Management, Ed Yost, commented, “As soon as you introduce alcohol at an off-site activity, peoples’ guards are dropped. It’s presumed to be a less formal, more social environment. Some people will drink more than they typically would on a Friday night or a Saturday because it’s an open bar or a free cocktail hour.
Drop. Last year 62% of businesses in Chicago served alcohol at their company parties.This was the highest percentage the survey had found in the past decade they’d been doing it. This year that number has dropped to just 49%.
Drink Tickets. According to the Huffington Post, Vox Media has decided to completely forgo their regular open bar format. This year, employees will receive just two drink tickets each. This news comes shortly after the firing of their editorial director, Lockhart Steele, after he was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee.
Phenomena. Many people are blaming these changes on the “Weinstein Effect.” The Weinstein Effect gets its name from mega-producer and recently revealed sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. It’s a phenomena caused by the publicized sexual misconduct allegations trigger a response from companies and other institutions.
Thought Process. Heather Harrington is an attorney and vice president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management. She’s weighed in on the possible thought process and reasonings employers have made these new changes.
Knee-Jerk Reaction. When asked if she believed that the changes were the result of the Weinstein Effect, Heather commented, “It may be just that – a knee-jerk reaction – and might be less effective if that’s all it is.”
Regardless of the Setting. While the companies may feel that removing or lessening the amount of alcohol provided at their parties can be a solution, it’s just not true. Sexual misconduct that occurs in the workplace happens regardless of the setting. The problem is employees who don’t believe rules apply to them and exude power over others.
Throughout the Year. “These incidents – they don’t all happen at the office party with someone with a lampshade on their head. They happen in people’s offices throughout the year,” assistant professor of human resource management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Debra Casey, stated.
Not Going to Solve Anything. Debra continued, “You can take all the alcohol away and you can take all the parties away. It’s not going to solve the sexual harassment issue.”