Workplace Christmas parties have been affected by the recent spate of sexual harassment scandals, with a quarter of male employees worried colleagues could misunderstand their behaviour at this year’s events, a new poll has revealed.
A ComRes poll for ITV News one in four people expect their Christmas party to be more subdued this year as a result of the Harvey Weinstein allegations that have rocked Hollywood, which spread Westminster and beyond, fuelled by campaigns such as #metoo.
It also found a quarter of women had experienced some form of sexual harassment at work during their career.
In signs the revelations will have a lasting effect on the UK workplace, the poll found men in particular saying they expect to take more care over general conversations at work (39%) and to tone down jokes (32%).
Men said they would also take more care over both socialising and physical contact with colleagues (34% and 31% respectively).
Last month, HuffPost UK spoke to women who described their everyday experiences of harassment at work, from the young woman up against the “Harvey Weinstein of the New York restaurant industry” to a temp worker who has nowhere to turn after a manager groped her behind.
* Around one in four people in employment say that the sexual harassment media stories will affect their Christmas party in some way
* 31% say it will make them behave more cautiously around their colleagues (37% of men and 25% of women)
* 26% say it makes them worried that their workplace might become less sociable (31% of men and 22% of women)
* 24% say it makes them think that behaviour at this year’s party will be more subdued (28% men, 19% women)
* One in five (20%) are worried that a colleague could misunderstand their behaviour at this year’s party (24% of men and 16% of women)
* Seven percent say that their party has been shelved over sexual harassment concerns (9% men, 4% women)
While the proportion of women who have experienced sexual harassment at work is high at 25% (and men at 9%), the poll also reveals a greater willingness among women to report harassment (66% expect more reporting as a result), and an expectation among 32% of women of less sexual harassment in the workplace.
* 17% say they’ve experienced what they believe to be sexual harassment in the workplace or place of study – 9% of men and 25% of women
* The older the person, the less likely they are to say they’ve experienced it – 22% of 18-24s but only 12% of 65+
* Just 4% say they’ve reported sexual harassment to their boss or to someone in authority (we’re asking for a filter to exclude those who haven’t experienced it)
* 26% overall, and 31% of women (20% of men) say that the news stories of harassment make them more likely to report it in future; just 3% say they’d be less likely
Andrew Hawkins, chairman of ComRes, said:
“Workplace practices naturally evolve over time but the #metoo campaign has brought about a sudden change in what is considered acceptable.
“Even if some feel uncertain about what this means day to day, or are worried about their own behaviour being misinterpreted at this year’s Christmas party, the campaign has clearly succeeded in forcing Britain’s workers to consider more carefully the impact of their behaviour on other people and to be ready to call out abuse when it happens.”