Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

These times are tough for our group. We’ve always been a firm that enjoys going out to lunch together and often during the week taking an evening where we have drinks before everyone heads home. We actually got a lot done when we were in these more casual modes because people could let their guard down and engage.

One of our advisors, “Helen,” took it upon herself to arrange a holiday party – virtually for us. She was trying to capture the experience we used to have. We all understood this.

The issue is that one of our advisors came to the event clearly drunk out of his mind, and another one became very rude, actually using slang terms that were insulting to people on the team and was a bit belligerent.

It was, to put it mildly, a disaster.

We all got through it, although some of us a bit better than others. But Helen cannot get past it. She is furious that her teammates embarrassed her and made an event she worked hard to plan so horrible for others. She is writing me flaming emails telling me I have to bring up what happened at our next team meeting (I am not the owner of the firm; I’m the COO and I schedule and run all of our internal meetings). I have told Helen I don’t think it is appropriate to address this with everyone, and I’d prefer to take it offline with the advisors who were culpable. She is adamant and threatening to do it herself or call them out in the next meeting.

I am tired, as all of our team is, from 2020. We are all seeking some peace. While I admit I am generally a non-confrontational person, others believe we should just move on. I am going to talk to the two advisors who were out of line. I believe that’s sufficient. Am I wrong? Should I be calling out this behavior? Do people deserve to be embarrassed when they do something like this?

S.P.