Krista McNallyDec 8, 2017, 9:59 pm

What’s the proper behavior at company holiday parties?

Employment lawyer shares advice employers should take to ensure good manners


EAST MEADOW — It is once again that time of year when many companies host holiday parties. But given how sexual misconduct has come to light in industries across the country, how does one stay professional with colleagues and supervisors while having fun at the same time?

Employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack is the author of the "Employee Rights Handbook." He says that holiday parties are a great way for companies to show their employees their appreciation for their hard work over the year. But before throwing the holiday bash, companies should take extra steps to protect their employees.

"I would say a good first step is to prepare a zero tolerance memo," Sack says. He says the memo should include what constitutes sexual harassment and what the consequences are. He also says that sending it right before the holiday party is always a good idea.

Alcohol is another thing that should be seriously considered doing away with.

"It’s up to the company to figure out ‘do we really want to have alcohol served at the party?’” Sack says.

Alcohol can alter employees’ decision making. But if it is served at the party, employees getting home is also a liability.

"If you are having the party at a restaurant or another place, definitely the company should order car service so that in the event that people are a little drunk or drink too much at the party, they can easily get car service home," Sack says.

Meantime, countless women have come forward with the “Me Too” movement to publicly talk about how they have been sexually assaulted. Many of those say it happened in the workplace.

Sack recently represented a woman who was sexually assaulted by her boss at the after-party after the Christmas party. He says employees also need to be extremely careful and aware of their surroundings.

"You want to avoid anything that is not professional and you want to make sure that you’re not in a situation that you will regret later on," Sack says.

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