‘Let Them Dance…But Not Too Close’: Welcome to the Post-Weinstein Holiday Party

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In the News

‘Let Them Dance…But Not Too Close’: Welcome to the Post-Weinstein Holiday Party

Engage CEO, Jay Starkman quoted in the Wall Street Journal

Companies aim to avert problem behavior at office parties with a list of ‘don’ts.’

The caution reflects the combustible mix that holiday work parties often bring together: alcohol plus colleagues dismissive or unsure of what work rules still apply at a celebration outside the office. The heightened sensitivity around sexual misconduct means “the terms of engagement are changing,” said Jay Starkman, chief executive of human-resources services company Engage PEO, who predicts less hugging at his employer’s headquarters holiday bash next week.

After an Engage PEO holiday celebration a few years ago, a woman complained to its HR department because Mr. Starkman hugged her and other male and female associates—but didn’t hug every woman there. He says the incident made him wonder “whether I should ever hug anybody at a holiday party again.’’

Since October, when the first of dozens of women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of serial sexual harassment and assault, Mr. Starkman said about a dozen company clients have asked him whether they should do anything differently in preparing their holiday parties. His main tip: Remind employees that “our company has no tolerance for any inappropriate conduct.”

In the News

Spotlight on workplace sexual harassment: How employers can prepare in 2019

Now more than ever, business owners need to know how to handle sexual allegations that may arise in the workplace.

The spotlight on this issue is harsh but presents a glowing opportunity for companies to do better. Employers can reinforce HR best practices that are in place, and take the lead to create new ways to ensure workplaces are free of harassment and unlawful discrimination. The time to do so is right now.

Engage CEO Jay Starkman, and co-founder Midge Seltzer, write for Employee Benefit News.

In the News

Company Holiday Party? In the Era of #MeToo, Exercise...Caution

You don’t have to take all the fun out of your workplace celebrations, but as a business owner, you must be responsible and practical.

The fact is, the potential problems posed by hosting social events in the workplace are not new, but they are amplified in today’s climate of heightened awareness.

Engage CEO, Jay Starkman, writes for Entrepreneur magazine.

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