Philadelphia, PA– Halloween is a very popular holiday in the uses and is widely celebrated in schools and workplaces across Pennsylvania. Americans spend billions on candy, decoration and Halloween costumes and it’s not just for kids anymore. The kids may have trick-or-treating, but the adults have parties and sometimes those parties can lead to a bad situation.
A work party can be a great team-building tool and can help reduce employee stress, but Halloween presents some opportunities for employees to be offended or feel harassed or discriminated against. It may seem far-fetched, but it sexual harassment complaints have been known to arise out of holiday parties in the work place.
Office parties, whether it is Halloween or Christmas, often also involves the consumption of alcohol. As the liquor flows, an employee may feel more embolden and have the courage to say something they wouldn’t normally say. Sometimes that something is sexually charged or otherwise inappropriate and an employee forgets that the rules of the workplace still apply even though they are at a party.
An employer can avoid a potentially bad situation or a sexual harassment lawsuit by limiting alcohol consumption or altogether eliminating it from the equation. A sober party may not sound like fun, but a civil lawsuit is even less fun, so maybe make it an alcohol-free party.
Another area where an employer can run into trouble is Halloween costumes. There are many benign costumes but as we all know some costumes can be highly offensive and sexually-charged. If you want to allow costumes, make sure your employees tone their costumes down. A sexy nurse may be appropriate in a nightclub but not a work party. It may just be a costume, but in the wrong situation it can lead to a legal nightmare.
If you are planning to have a Halloween party in your Philadelphia workplace, be sure to set strict guidelines, so you can avoid any problems. Make sure employees understand what is and isn’t an appropriate costume. Or, have a costume-free party.
If you allow costumes, make sure employees are reminded what behavior constitutes sexual harassment. Make certain you inform employees of your guidelines for the party well in advance. Also, remind them they are still at work in spite of the party atmosphere.
If one employee does get offended by another person’s costume, don’t worry but do be sensitive about the complainant’s concerns. If one of your employees does harass a coworker at your Halloween party, make certain you end the behavior and discipline the harasser appropriately. Careful thought and planning can ensure your Halloween party is scary and fun not scary and litigious.
USAttorneys urges any employee who has been sexually harassed to contact a sexual harassment lawyer in Philadelphia to discuss their case. They may be eligible for compensation for their emotional distress and loss of wages. Our team of employment law attorneys in Pennsylvania will work on hard on your claim, so you get the justice you deserve for the workplace abuses you faced.