“Let’s engage in a Halloween-type party where everybody would be having sex.”
Or perhaps, “So, are you going to wear a bikini for your Halloween costume?”
What is it about Halloween that brings out the creep factor in the workplace?
The first quote is from a real district court case earlier this year which documented a series of alleged comments made relating to a sexual harassment complaint.
(If you’re scratching your head at the reference to a “Halloween-type” party, I’m right there with you.)
The second is from a different case that is no less offensive in its descriptions of pervasive inappropriate conduct in the workplace.
(And, as if you needed confirmation, Princess Leia in a bikini from Return of the Jedi is not appropriate in the workplace, however cool Princess Leia is.)
And yet, it continues.
Suzanne Lucas (a/k/a Evil Hr Lady) recently posted some tips about hosting an Office Halloween party. Among them:
Costumes shouldn’t make fun of other cultures, the word “sexy” shouldn’t be attached to any workplace costume and the gore should be kept to a minimum. Remember, the goal is to have fun, not to offend. If you want to dress up as a sexy zombie, save that for your own Halloween party with personal friends.
But here’s my simple advice, be afraid. Be very very afraid. There are just way too many bad things that happen on Halloween with far more “tricks” than “treats”.
I realize that sounds like a no-fun lawyer, but how many more sexual harassment cases from Halloween do we really want or need? Do I need to keep writing these posts each Halloween?