Allegations of sexual misconduct, assault and even rape in the workplace have been prominent in the news recently. They’ve resulted in the firings, resignations and loss of power and respect of prominent men in media, show business, politics and beyond.
Within this new climate, many companies are rethinking their practice of serving alcohol at their holiday parties. Employers hope that the absence of free alcohol will cut down on behavior that crosses the line. It will also likely minimize the number of people driving home from these parties under the influence.
One survey found that just under half of companies are planning to have alcohol at their office holiday parties this season. That’s down from 62 percent last year. The number of companies providing alcohol at these annual parties was previously rising as the economy recovered from the recession of a decade ago.
One media company that has fired a high-level employee for alleged sexual harassment says that it still plans to serve alcohol, but limit employees to two free drinks. It also says that it will be providing more food than in the past.
Some companies have cash bars only. Others say that they plan to have people, including security personnel, bartenders and even employees watching out for people who are drunk and/or engaged in inappropriate behavior — particularly in secluded areas of the venue.
Of course, it’s always best not to overindulge at a party where your managers and colleagues are present. However, any time you’re going to a party where alcohol will be served, even if you’re only planning to have a drink or two, it’s wise to use an Uber or Lyft to take you and pick you up. It’s a lot less expensive than a DUI, and if you share the ride with a few co-workers, you save money. You also don’t have to worry about dealing with possible jail time, fines and worse over the holidays and beyond.
Source: AP News, “Bag the mistletoe, cut the booze; Office parties sober up,” Marley Jay, Dec. 04, 2017