Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Preaching or Greeting?

Noted employment attorney John Phillips gives his analysis of an interesting case involving "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays." An excerpt:

The employee insists that her religious beliefs prevented her from contributing to the secularization of Christmas, so she asked for an accommodation, something she’s entitled to as long as her belief is sincerely held and the accommodation doesn’t cause the employer an undue hardship. Some employment lawyers/bloggers are siding with the employer. For example, see here and here, because saying “Merry Christmas” isn’t a tenet of religious faith, or the employee wanted to use her employer’s telephones to push her own faith.

I’m hesitant to take sides in The Christmas Wars, but I’m also hesitant to blow off the employee’s complaint. An employee doesn’t have to show that what she believes is a tenet of her church but of her own personal faith. Moreover, the employee’s willingness to continue the regular greeting seems to thwart the argument that she wanted to use the phones to preach rather than greet.

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