Big Four firm PwC cracks down on drinking alcohol in the office
Big Four accountancy firm PwC has cracked down on drinking alcohol in the office.
By James Booth
December 1, 2019
Under new rules introduced this year, alcohol can only be drunk on PwC premises when it has been supplied by the firm’s in-house catering team at specially designated events.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “As part of the regular review of our policies we recently refreshed our policy on social events.
“Only alcohol sourced from our in-house catering company can be consumed in the office.”
The policy shift comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement which has led to a tougher stance on sexual harassment across the corporate world.
Last year, PwC confirmed it had fired five partners for inappropriate behaviour including harassment or bullying over the previous three years.
Earlier this year, insurance market Lloyd’s of London cracked down on alcohol after reports of a boozy culture which was fuelling sexual harassment.
Zulon Begum, an employment partner at law firm CM Murray, said: “Most instances we see around harassment arise following on from quite booze-filled parties and events. Christmas seems to be a particular pinch point for these types of incidents.
“I am not surprised the big firms are looking at removing that environment where that kind of behaviour often occurs.”
PwC said its other guidelines and rules around alcohol included asking people to provide food at events where alcohol is served.
It also said it regularly holds events which are not centred around the consumption of alcohol.
“We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for all of our people and develop activities for team building events in the office such as pizza making and barista masterclasses,” a spokesperson said.
Begum said: “In any kind of event sponsored by the firm employers can be vicariously liable for anything that happens so it is in the interest of those firms to be planning events so as to minimise the risk of those things happening.”
She added: “Firms have a duty of care to ensure their people are working in a safe environment and if they think alcohol will make those events unsafe for some people they have a duty to act on that.”