Just when we need it most, offices are nixing booze at holiday parties

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Not only are 2017’s high-profile sexual misconduct scandals completely gross, they’re also ruining your office holiday party. The Associated Press reports the results of a survey conducted by Chicago consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. that finds a 13 percent drop in the number of offices that plan to serve alcohol at this year’s holiday parties. It’s considered a response to the recent allegations that have exposed the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Kevin Spacey.

In 2016, 62 percent of offices said they’d serve booze at December festivities; this year, a measly 49 percent. The AP reports that as a wave of high-profile men in business, media, and tech stand accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, offices are fearful of what the combination of booze, mistletoe, and coworkers could yield.

One such company is Vox Media, which fired its editorial director, Lockhart Steele, last month after he was accused of sexually harassing a former Vox employee. Huffington Post reports that Vox will scrap its customary open bar this year in favor of drink tickets and more substantial passed appetizers.


“Employers are currently very wary of creating an environment where inappropriate contact between employees could occur,” says Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. in the report. “One way to create a safer environment is to limit the guest list, hold the party during the workday, and avoid serving alcohol.”

Uh, so we all get a cup of La Croix at our desks? Sounds like any other Thursday.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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It’s not so much inappropriate contact (though it’s of course part) as it is about liability in general. Companies will kill anything if they thing it’ll come back to bite them in the wallet.

I work for a beer distributor, and there’s literally no alcohol anywhere to be seen at company events/parties because at every one we held, some moron thought it was a good idea to get drunk as hell and ruin the fun for future employees by starting a fight, trying to touch someone they shouldn’t, or driving home in a company vehicle.

So don’t blame companies, blame Kevin and Janette for being stupid.