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Make Sure Your Holiday Party Doesn’t Make The News!

If you have watched even a snippet of the news in the last few weeks, there is a new revolution upon us– #metoo.  People have found their voice and are standing up for themselves.  It’s staggering.  First it was Harvey Weinstein.  Then Kevin Spacey.  Now Matt Lauer and of course, Donald Trump, among the many accused of sexual harassment; and not just by women, but men as well.  This has become the new national conversation.  People are feeling empowered.  So you better watch out…or you may cry…let me tell you why.

Every day it seems a new accuser comes forward and another career is destroyed.  Do you know where many sexual harassments complaints usually come from at this time a year?  The office holiday party.  Office holiday parties can be a BIG problem for employers. California law has strict requirements on sexual harassment.  Know that employers can be held liable for sexual harassment not only by themselves, but by their supervisors or agents or even third parties who are not employed by your company, such as a client or customer.

While an office party is a wonderful opportunity to mingle, show your appreciation for your staff and get to know your employees and others in a fun, relaxed setting, be aware of the liability associated with these events. Whether the party is held in your office or other location, make sure your festive party is planned responsibly to protect yourself and your employees from potential legal issues.

This means you should remind your employees (and yourselves as employers) of what sexual harassment is and that your office has a strict policy against any type of harassment.  Meaning everyone in attendance at your holiday party should avoid making unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex that could create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment (and you don’t have to be at work to create this environment).

To learn more about how to protect your business against the #metoo revolution and ensure your own event is held responsibly and is fun for everyone, contact the employment attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt.


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