By Holly Caplan, Guest Blogger

We all know that the awareness of sexual harassment and gender bias in the work place is at an all time high. The stories just keep on coming.  They do not stop. Every day a new woman comes forward and everyday a new man is vehemently apologizing on a major network.

In light of all of this, companies and employees are reevaluating their upcoming holiday parties, which often becomes the chance to drink heavily with your colleagues and act in ways you otherwise would not.

Before writing this, I reached out to a long time friend of mine who works as a human resources director.  She laughingly told me that the busiest week in HR is always the week after the holiday party.  Employees come in with complaints of sexual harassment and overall ill behavior. I could just see her shaking her head over our phone call. She said during the week after the holiday party she has a rotating door to her office.

What does this tell us?

It tells us that the holiday party can be a night of debauchery, drinking and fun, yet someone will always end up paying for it in the end.  That is why this year, you, the employee, should be looking at this differently. You surely don’t want to set yourself up for a potentially bad situation. In our current climate, it is too dangerous and at the very least could result in you becoming the office gossip on Monday and at worst, could cost you your job.

You should know, it is okay to say no this year, or any year. Depending on your company’s culture, you can make a decision that will be best for you. Some companies choose different paths for these events, but if you feel yours will lead to a bad hangover and potentially some awkward and regretful conversations or activities, just say no.

NEXT POST: Options to consider if you decide to skip the holiday party.

Holly Caplan is an award-winning manager and author of “Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World.” For more information, please visit, http://www.hollycaplan.com.