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Many US companies scale back the annual office holiday party

As holiday party time arrives, human resources executives across the country are taking a hard look

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 10:59am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 11:05am

By Giovanni Bruno

The growing number of noteworthy sexual harassment allegations is affecting holidays in the workplace.

As office holiday party time arrives, human resources executives across the US are scaling back on parties, according to survey released Tuesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“It’s very possible the results we’re seeing are due to news reports of sexual harassment and assault at work. The company party is a way for employers to celebrate the accomplishments of their workers. It should boost morale and let workers know they are valued. It should not put anyone in an uncomfortable situation,” said Challenger.

While the survey showed that out of 150 human resources representatives 80 per cent still are planning a holiday party, the same as last year, the 11 per cent of employers not holding a holiday party is four per cent higher than in 2016. That marks the highest percentage since 2009 when 25 per cent of companies did not have parties.

Even among those companies holding office celebrations, the survey found that fewer parties will serve alcohol, employ caterers or other outside services, or invite guests of employees to attend.

The survey also showed that 47.8 per cent of employers will serve alcohol this year, a decrease from nearly 62 per cent of companies that offered alcohol in 2016.

“Employers are currently very wary of creating an environment where inappropriate contact between employees could occur,” said Andrew Challenger, VP of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “One way to create a safer environment is to limit the guest list, hold the party during the workday, and avoid serving alcohol,” added Challenger.

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