Don’t Let That Sexy Santa Harass You At This Year’s Office Party
With the season festivities, merriment and scores of corporate celebrations in full swing our sexual harassment lawyer has a few words of advice for you regarding the allure of that sexy Santa or evasive elf at your office party. As we all know the annual company year-end celebration often provides the perfect ground for letting your hair down and getting to know your colleagues on a more personal level. With sprigs of mistletoe hanging in doorways and free flowing alcohol, the holiday office party has a reputation for encouraging uninhibited behavior. While there is nothing wrong with a little festive fun after a long year of hard work, there is a serious limit as to when that fun turns into sexual harassment. Lawyers working in the sexual harassment arena are often flooded with claims of workplace harassment at this time of the year. From a simple remark deemed inappropriate to co-workers being chased, trapped and groped in bathroom cubicles the list is endless when it comes to sexual harassment at the office party.
Sadly, it is alarming how uninformed employees are when it comes to what constitutes sexual harassment. Lawyers are constantly inundated with queries concerning whether a particular behavior or comment can be deemed sexual harassment. There are many examples of inappropriate office party behavior such as:
- Inebriated employee telling a fellow employee that they appreciate their body
- A co-worker pressing their body up against other co-workers
- An employee touching other co-workers in a suggestive manner
- Superiors making romantic propositions to subordinates
- Presentation of risqué, romantic or sexually inspired gag gifts to fellow employees
- Teasing a fellow co-worker regarding their party attire or costume
- Coercing an employee into kissing under mistletoe
- Coercing coworkers into group activities that could lead to potentially uncomfortable physical contact
- Forcing employees to play games that put them in the position of having to answer humiliating questions
The reality of the situation is that the list is truly endless of potential claims of sexual harassment and each instance needs to be assessed by a knowledgeable sexual harassment attorney. Furthermore it is important to remember that that when it comes to off premises office parties, inappropriate behavior can still fall under workplace sexual harassment as the holiday party could be seen as an extension of the workplace in certain circumstances.
So what can you do to ensure that your office party remains free of sexual harassment? Here are our top tips for stopping sexy Santa’s inappropriate behavior:
- Update and reprint company policies on sexually inappropriate behavior: be sure to include what witnesses to sexual harassment can do.
- Bring in an expert: Contact a sexual harassment lawyer to come in and give a presentation on the law behind sexual harassment.
- Do away with the alcohol: if this is not an option limit the amount and availability of alcohol at the function
- Invite families and partners to events: this is very effective in curbing inappropriate behavior
If you are unsure whether something you have been a party to behavior that amounts to sexual harassment, do not hesitate to contact our experienced sexual harassment lawyer at California Legal Team today for more information.