The office holiday party may be a quieter event this year.
Ever since the New York Times and the New Yorker published articles chronicling allegations of sexual assault and harassment against film producer Harvey Weinstein, more and more women are coming forward with their own stories of abuse by people in power. These headlines are causing a shift in the workplace — and at company holiday parties.
"Holiday celebrations are going to feel a little different this year in many organizations," said Nicholas Pearce, a clinical professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. "More people will be paying attention to their behavior.
"Individuals who've been passive bystanders will have more courage to speak up, even by those powerful in the organization," he added.
Changes to the annual party are already evident. Challenger, Grey & Christmas, an outplacement consulting firm, conducted a holiday party survey of 150 human resource representatives, titled, "Is the 'Weinstein effect' causing companies to curtail celebrations?"
Roughly 1 in 10 employers will not hold a holiday party this year, after holding them in the past, the survey found. Less than half of employers (47.8 percent) will provide alcohol at their holiday parties this year, down from 62 percent in 2016.
"Employers are currently very wary of creating an environment where inappropriate contact between employees could occur," said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.