What should you do if you are accused of sexual harassment after a company or office holiday party? While such events are meant for fun and good times among your team members and fellow employees, they can also present risks for employees miscommunicating or misunderstanding communications or interactions. These potential risks include being accused of sexual harassment. You need to know what to do if you are accused of sexual harassment or discrimination at a company or office party.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behavior that creates a hostile or uncomfortable work environment. It can take many forms, including unwanted physical contact, inappropriate comments or jokes, and displaying sexually explicit materials.
The legal standard for what constitutes sexual harassment in New York State is lower than the Federal standard, meaning it is easier to find an accused to have committed sexual harassment or discrimination.
What are the risks of being accused of sexual harassment at company holiday parties?
Holiday parties can provide opportunities for inappropriate behavior to occur, particularly when alcohol is involved. Employees may be more relaxed and may let their guard down, which can lead to misunderstandings or inappropriate behavior. In addition, the festive atmosphere and lack of supervision may give some individuals the impression that their behavior is more acceptable than it would be in a normal work setting.
If you are accused of sexual harassment at a company holiday party, it's important to take the following steps:
- Take the accusation seriously: It's important to take any accusation of sexual harassment seriously and to understand the impact that your actions may have had on others.
- Cooperate with the investigation: If your company has a process for addressing sexual harassment complaints, it's important to cooperate fully with the investigation. This includes being honest and forthcoming with information and providing any relevant documentation or witness statements.
- Seek legal counsel: If you are accused of sexual harassment, it's a good idea to seek legal counsel to protect your rights and interests.
- Take care of yourself: Accusations of sexual harassment, particularly false allegations, can be emotionally and mentally draining. It's important to take care of yourself during this time by seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist if needed.
By being aware of the risks and knowing what to do if you are accused of sexual harassment at a company holiday party, you can protect yourself and your reputation. It's important to remember that sexual harassment is never acceptable and that it's important to be respectful and professional at all times.
If you would like more information about sexual harassment, please click here.