Office parties coming under scrutiny as workplace harassment scandals spread.

Published on : December 4, 2017 6:22




Employers are making sure their holiday office parties don’t become part of the problem, keepin in mind a series of high-profile workplace sex scandals.

There will be less booze at many parties.An independent business organization has renewed its annual warning not to hang mistletoe. And some will have party monitors, keeping an eye out for inappropriate behaviour.

Even a regular office party can be complicated because the rules people normally observe at work don’t quite apply, which makes it easier for people to accidentally cross a line  or try to get away with serious misbehaviour. Especially when too much drinking is involved.

Government seeks to tighten workplace harassment rules.

The Huffington Post reported Friday that Vox Media, which runs sites including Vox and Recode, won’t have an open bar this year at its holiday party and will instead give employees two tickets they can redeem for drinks. It will also have more food than in years past. The company recently fired its editorial director, Lockhart Steele, after a former employee made allegations of sexual harassment against him.

A survey by Bloomberg Law said those kinds of safeguards are common: while most companies ask bartenders or security or even some employees to keep an eye on how much partygoers are drinking, others limit the number of free drinks or the time they’re available. A small minority have cash bars instead of an open bar.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses recommends all of those steps, and adds another that might seem obvious these days: don’t hang mistletoe. It’s been giving those suggestions for several years.