Memo to Drunk, Handsy Coworkers at the Office Holiday Party: You’re Still Legally Accountable for Your Actions

December 4, 2017

Given the recent string of sexual harassment cases in the news, many businesses are wondering if serving alcohol at work events is a good idea. The “Weinstein effect” is sweeping the nation, and this year’s holiday parties are feeling its implications: Fewer companies will be serving alcohol at their festivities. According to the 2017 Holiday Party Survey Report, only 47.8% of workplaces will have booze available, down from a whopping 62% last year.

Although it may be easier to focus on alcohol as the source of harassment cases in workplaces, Nina Frank from Outten and Golden law firm sees this as missing the point.

“I don’t think I can say this often enough: Alcohol doesn’t cause sexual harassment, or sexual assault, or rape,” she says. “It’s always the individual’s fault when they sexually harass or assault someone else, alcohol consumption does not lower inhibitions to the point where it can be excused.”