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

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‘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

Top compliance issues New York employers should know about

Lawmakers in New York have made 2019 a banner year in the area of employment regulation, both at the state and local levels. If you are an employer in the state, you know the legal landscape is constantly changing and you need to stay on top of the latest rules in place wherever you have employees.

Here is a list of the top compliance issues effecting private employers in New York as of this summer. 

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Employee Relations: Handling Romances Between Co-workers

Romances between co-workers, and extramarital affairs especially, tend to raise eyebrows. So how is a manager or HR director supposed to deal with it?

Read this news as published in SHRM HR Today.

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