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Office Sex Party is Surefire Way to a Lawsuit

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By Jason Beahm on November 04, 2010 7:01 AM

Here is a recipe for a holiday office lawsuit:

  • Invite hotel employees to company work party
  • Bring assorted sex toys
  • Have husband of boss wear thong and perform lap dances for everyone
  • Have husband of boss take off thong
  • Have boss invite employees and guests to play 'ring toss' with husband's genitalia

You would think that this would all go without saying, but, of course it does not. A hotel employee in Eugene, Oregon, is suing her boss, Julie Frederick, for just such an office "sex party." Jessica Webber, an employee at the Markum Inn, alleges that the company party got more than a little weird.

Courthouse News Service reports that the blatant sexual harassment alluded to in the above recipe occurred at the company party -- and then some. The office sex lawsuit would be funny if it weren't actually true. You have to wonder what planet her boss was from to believe that there would not be fallout from the alleged holiday office activity.

Slate ran a piece highlighting the unawareness of social host liability at office parties.

"nearly one in four (24%) adults do not know that a party host who serves alcohol to a clearly drunk guest may be legally responsible if that person goes on to hurt or kill someone in a car accident." Yet, the article continues "one in five (20%) adults will host or co-host a holiday party this year at which alcohol will be served." In addition, office sex apparently is common at such parties: "Twenty-nine percent of adults have experienced or observed sexual advances between people who work together at such gatherings."

Here are a few ways to avoid a lawsuit when your company hosts a party:

  • Do not allow intoxicated drivers to drive
  • Have designated drivers and/or cab service waiting
  • Warn employees about prohibited sexual behavior
  • Have a dress code
  • Do not hire or allow entertainment that is risque or offensive

This list is far from inclusive, but it's a good start. Common sense goes a long way with these things, but unfortunately, you can't always count on common sense.

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