Sexy Halloween, harassment, inappropriate workplace dress, dress code

Harassment Season starts with Sexy Halloween

As Halloween approaches, companies should be cautious of the season’s inevitable rise of harassment ghosts and goblins – they appear this time of year, every year – without fail – so be on the look out!

It’s all over … “Sexy Halloween” … good…bad…what does it mean…

I’ll skip that conversation but give a stern warning:  the ghosts and goblins of sexy Halloween can haunt you!  Here’s why: the complaints and lawsuits that will be filed against companies early next year have their roots in incidents that take place between Halloween and Christmas of this year . . . and it starts with Halloween.  Opening Day of Halloween to Christmas Harassment Season begins when the normal and customary company dress codes are put aside for Halloween dress-up (or often, dress-down).  This year’s theme for dress up:  Sexy Halloween is everywhere.

I’m not saying ‘sexy Halloween’ cannot be fun, but I am saying, it does not belong at the office or a party where you are likely to see your colleagues.

The holidays can and should be a fun time to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year, connect with colleagues and express gratitude. However, in order to reduce costly complaints and lawsuits next year, be careful of sexy halloween.

Here are some tips to help you and your company get through the goblins:

>    Announce a Halloween dress-up policy and remind your people that Halloween costumes should also comply with the general level of professionalism associated with your regular dress code.
>    Check your Harassment Policy public reminder posters – are they still posted in the break rooms where you put them?
>    Send out email reminders multiple times during “Harassment Season” reminding people of your company’s Anti-Harassment policy and where they can find it.
>    Print a reminder message on the stub section of paychecks reminding employees to keep the company Anti-Harassment policy in mind with the joys of the holiday season.
>    If you are still shaking from fear of what happened at last year’s company party, consider limiting or eliminating alcohol this year.
>    Plan a group Harassment Prevention and Sensitivity Training Session with managers and executives right smack in the middle of the Harassment Season to remind managers and leadership of their responsibilities and the risks associated with the season.

As Halloween approaches, ‘spirits’ will be working overtime doing their part to make sure HR and legal departments are busy with expensive and distracting harassment complaints next year. Chances are the complaint will involve activities that will take place during the Harassment Season that opens with Halloween. However, with a few proactive steps, the beginning of the Harassment Season does not have to be so scary.

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