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Wild and Wanton at the Christmas Party...but who is getting harassed?
Leading HR consultancy Jaluch have uncovered some shocking revelations about what UK employees get up to at their Christmas parties.
Amidst a catalogue of anecdotes about illicit affairs, getting bosses and colleagues drunk and against a backdrop of lawyers scare mongering about legal claims for discrimination and harassment, Jaluch found that just 8.1% of staff said they had been sexually harassed at a work Christmas Party whilst 0.3% said they had been racially harassed.
Of those being sexually harassed, 40% said the harassment had been of a relatively minor nature, although a further 38% said that the harassment had made them feel very uncomfortable.
Helen Jamieson, director of Jaluch said that the survey also asked for staff opinions on alcohol at Christmas Parties, as an excess of alcohol is often what fuels inappropriate behaviours. Interestingly, 44% of those surveyed said that an open or free bar was a bad thing at a staff party. Over 30% had no particular opinion on open bars or free flowing wine on dinner tables. But 21% said they were in favour.
One of those surveyed commented that free flowing alcohol had fuelled their 'courage' to such an extent that they told their boss what they thought of him - and subsequently got fired for having done so. Not a great end to a Christmas party!
So if bosses want to go with the majority, this year why not aim to save a bit of money by limiting the bar spend?
Turning to the non drinkers, Jaluch established that 14% of non drinkers said that they were occasionally or frequently criticised for not drinking at social functions, but in contrast only 6% of those who do drink alcohol admitted to finding non drinkers party poopers. Perhaps the gap occurs as 8% of drinkers think they don’t mind, but when in their alcohol induced fuzz, can’t resist the temptation of having a ‘poke’ at their more sober colleagues?
Of Xmas Party regrets, a recurring theme from the survey was ill thought through one night stands with colleagues and bosses. Although in Jaluch’s experience, last year some of those ‘regrets’ morphed into serious Christmas Party angst and strife once colleagues, focused on their own amusement rather than their colleagues’ well being, posted pictures on Facebook.
So lessons for employers from all this? Jaluch recommends that bosses remain vigilant for those staff who have felt offended or insulted by the actions or words of colleagues at parties and ensure that all instances are swiftly dealt with in line with company policies and procedures. This will ensure small gripes do not turn into big gripes that ultimately end up in a tribunal. And for those still thinking that a free bar is the key to staff morale and valued by all, think again!
Notes for Editors
Jaluch provides HR services and training and development solutions to organisations across all business sectors, throughout the UK and internationally. Jaluch offer a wide range of commercial HR solutions for every employer, from simple contract and handbook reviews, to larger scale HR management projects or advice on complex employment law issues. Similarly, our extensive range of training and development initiatives are always tailored to suit the culture and needs of your business. We pride ourselves on our friendly, professional but down to earth approach and our commitment to always speaking in plain English.
Jaluch has offices in London, Reading and Ringwood.