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The Weinstein Effect on Company Holiday Parties

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

November 25, 2019

Many companies throughout the United States host holiday parties to celebrate the season and another year of success in the workplace. These parties typically consist of lavish dinners, gift exchanges, open bars, and dancing.

However, some employers have made changes to this annual event by limiting the amount of alcohol served to each person or hosting the event on a weekday rather than the weekend. Additionally, others have stopped hosting the party altogether.

The main reason why there have been significant changes to company holiday parties in recent years isn’t because of saving money. Instead, a booze-filled event could result in unwanted sexual advances, which can make companies subject to lawsuits and employees subject to job termination and criminal charges.

Ever since dozens of women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape and sexual harassment in October 2017, he was forced out of the industry, thus starting the #MeToo movement. The “Weinstein Effect” has empowered both men and women in all industries to call out inappropriate behavior and bring down powerful figures who have a long history of sexual misconduct.

If your company is hosting a holiday party, here are several steps to take to avoid being accused of a sex crime:

  • Remain sober or keep tabs on how much you drink – If an open bar is part of the festivities, keep in mind that you still need to be on your best behavior in front of your employers and fellow employees. Alcohol consumption can cause people to loosen their inhibitions and act in ways they wouldn’t if they were sober, including making sexual advances toward their work crush.
  • Be careful with what you say – If you are a male who wishes to tell a female coworker how beautiful she is in her dress, ask yourself if you would say the same thing to a male coworker. Although you would comment on his attire, you wouldn’t go on to comment on his looks. It’s best to keep such comments to yourself.
  • Do not touch – While shaking another person’s hand is totally acceptable, avoid touching any other part of the body. Touching also includes holding and rubbing, which can make anyone uncomfortable. If there is a dance floor at your party, always stay an arm’s length away from your dance partner (unless it is your significant other).

If you have been accused of a sex crime in Fort Lauderdale, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today at (954) 840-8713 and schedule an immediate case review. Get 40+ years of legal experience on your side!