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Sexual harassment is common at office holiday parties

As the New Year approaches, your workplace may throw a holiday party. These joyous celebrations can be a great way to let loose with your co-workers and have some fun. However, a Christmas or New Year party at your workplace can lead to sexual misconduct

According to a report by The Guardian, office parties during the holiday season are often full of sexual harassment. This is especially true when alcohol is involved. So what should you do if you are a victim of sexual harassment at an office holiday party? Here is a guide to identifying and responding to sexual harassment in these environments. 

Examples of sexual harassment

There are many different types of behavior that may count as sexual harassment that occur at workplace parties, including:

  • Giving inappropriate or suggestive gifts
  • Unwelcome touching, such as excessive hugging, forcible kisses or dancing that gets physical 
  • Making sexual remarks
  • Playing uncomfortable games such as Truth or Dare

Supervisors or fellow employees may be the perpetrators of these behaviors. 

First steps to take

If you experience anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or violated at a workplace holiday party, make sure you take notes about the situation while it is fresh in your mind. You can take down physical notes or type it into a notes app on your smartphone. Next, identify any potential witnesses of the situation. 

Final steps

You should then go to the HR department of your workplace and explain your situation. Your employer may take steps to remedy the situation and make sure it does not happen again. However, sometimes this does not work out. Your employer may neglect to resolve the issue or even retaliate against you for bringing it up. If this happens, you should talk to an employment law attorney. A lawyer can help you figure out what constitutes sexual harassment and what your legal options are. 

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