So there is going to be a Christmas or holiday party at work. You remember what happened last year; too much alcohol and some groping. What rights do you have and what can you do if there is the same type of behavior again this year? In Illinois, sexual harassment is defined as an unwarranted attempt at sexual relations. This could include sexual comments, request for sex or sexual content in the form of Internet websites or pictures. Also, if the person doing the harassment is a manager or supervisor, there is strict liability on the company for sexual harassment. So what does this mean for you?
Don’t let the boss hit on your during the Christmas party. You have a right to be free from sexual harassment even at a party. Because the party is a company sanctioned event, it is an extension of work and liability still attaches. If you are the victim of this type of unwanted attention, you should contact an employment lawyer at once. My office files sexual harassment complaints at the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“) often. Also, take note of any witnesses and if you receive any text messages, save them. Remember, drinking and a party is not an excuse to engage in sexual harassment.