Monday, December 14, 2009


There are plenty of laws and HR guidelines that dictate how one should legally and ethically behave during a religious celebration. The laws are there to respected and follow. But let us not forget that common sense is always the best defense to avoid conflict in the work place, particularly during "the holidays" (We all know how I feel about that blanket statement so I'll spare you my soliloquy).

All the corners of the world have entrenched beliefs, cultural traditions and religions that they celebrate at one point or another during the year. One big difference between most of the world and us is that we've become sissyfied. And by that I mean that, in most religions, be it of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or any other tradition, there is a pride and inner peace with one's beliefs. Of course, radical or extremist groups aside.

Recent polls show that 92 per cent of Americans believe in God (or a 'higher power'). We are a nation that has been born in the Christian tradition. Our very foundation is that of one country under God. I don't understand how we are steadily losing respect for what we have the right to celebrate and cherish.

At one point we are all going to be so consumed by worry about offending someone else that this in itself will be found offensive by a sue-happy employee. I can almost hear it happening: "Do you think I am so weak that you need to baby my every feeling? I resent that."

So what is there for a team leader to do? Well, just like in the movie clip below, take a metaphorical step outside the door, take a good look at any situation as an outsider, and analyze it with a critical eye. Let common sense reign, don't make anyone feel forced to partake on any religious celebration or feel ostracized by it. Respecting other people's beliefs goes without saying, of course. And just as important, know the laws that apply in your state to help keep employees engaged and your business away from law suits.

Let's hope for a de-sissyfication of America for this Christmas, no more double standards, and overall respect for what each of us believes in.

Here is a good link to learn more about religious freedom in the workplace.

Merry Christmas!!!

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