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Holiday office parties are making a comeback. How to make sure they don't spell trouble

Sexual Misconduct Office Holiday Parties
Posted at 3:36 PM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 15:36:20-05

Holiday office parties are making a comeback following cancelations during the height of the pandemic.

According to a survey from business and executive coaching firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 42% of companies are planning to have a holiday party in 2022. That's up from just 13% in 2021.

While holiday parties can be fun, they can also lead to trouble. Out of 1,000 employees surveyed, 14% said they were terminated shortly after last year's holiday party.

"If your judgment is so poor that you think it's OK to get extremely drunk and probably inappropriate, as a result at a Christmas party, it's not a stretch for your employer to say, 'Is this a person that we can also trust to have good judgment when they put them in front of a client?" said Julie Bauke, chief career strategist at The Bauke Group.

Poor judgment shown at any time can put an employee at risk, but it's especially the case when numerous industries are announcing layoffs.

"Companies will start with the people who in some cases, frankly, we've been looking for a reason to get rid of anyway," Bauke said. "And so, as far as holiday parties go, don't give them that reason.

Bauke said people should go to holiday parties with a plan to avoid any potential conflicts.

"I'm going to stay for 90 minutes. I'm going to have one drink. I'm going to have a couple of plates of food. I'm going to meet two new people that right there in my book is a win, and I think any of us can do that," she said.

Bauke adds that it could be helpful to have an excuse to leave if people at the party start acting inappropriately.