In Wake of Sexual Harassment Scandals, Companies Scale Back on Drinks at Holiday Parties

In Wake of Sexual Harassment Scandals, Companies Scale Back on Drinks at Holiday Parties

In response to a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against numerous men in the media and other high-profile industries, Vox Media, which fired its own editorial director last month for sexual harassment, announced to staff last Thursday that it would not have an open bar at its holiday party this year, the Huffington Post reported. By limiting the amount of alcohol available to employees at the party (they will now get two drink tickets instead), the company aims to discourage “unprofessional behavior” and avoid “creating an environment that encourages overconsumption”:

The move keeps in line with an earlier memo that Vox CEO Jim Bankoff sent to staffers on Nov. 3, which listed a number of initiatives aimed at improving Vox’s work culture. Among other efforts, Bankoff wrote that the company would be considering “tighter policies around alcoholic beverages at company events and meetings and generally ensuring work events and interactions meet the highest standard of professionalism.”

Vox Media is by no means the only company considering scaling back on the booze at their holiday event for this reason. The Associated Press’s Marley Jay takes a brief look at what companies are doing and why:

According to a survey by Chicago-based consulting company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, only 49 percent of companies plan to serve alcohol at their holiday events. Last year that number was 62 percent, the highest number in the decade the firm has run its survey. The number had been going up each year as the economy improved. …

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Is Your Office Holiday Party a Hit? Most Aren’t.

Is Your Office Holiday Party a Hit? Most Aren’t.

Over the next few weeks, countless organizations in the US, Europe, and around the world will hold end-of-year holiday parties for their employees. While some employees are looking forward to the event, SHRM’s Dana Wilkie highlights a new survey from the staffing firm OfficeTeam that finds that only 36 percent of office workers describe their workplace holiday parties as entertaining, while 35 percent say they are no fun. Most describe their company’s events as fairly tame and not particularly extravagant, and only about a quarter of employees feel like attendance at them is obligatory.

Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, tells Wilkie that with careful planning, employers can endure that their holiday events feel like rewards rather than obligations to their employees:

Scheduling, for instance, can be a sticking point. For instance, many companies plan parties during weekend evenings in November and December, which can be a busy time for workers who may be shopping, decorating or attending personal holiday events. …

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