Sex and Religion at the Holidays
Most Important, Manage the Alcohol Consumption
Manage the Alcohol Consumption:
- Use a commercial establishment rather than someone’s home.
- Two drink limit. If employee purchases additional must be on personal credit card.
- Provide free transportation home from the party.
- Have the celebration mid-day.
- Avoid salty or greasy foods – they contribute to increased drinking.
- Serve foods high in starch & protein – they slow absorption.
- Cut off all alcohol at some point.
- Serve beer & wine only.
- Choose venue carefully – hotel rooms nearby can be a problem!
Invite the spouses, significant others, domestic partners.
- People are much more apt to behave if the significant other is in attendance.
- Review the language in the invitation to make sure that there is no exclusion of non-married or non-heterosexual significant others.
- No slow dancing (especially if significant others are excluded).
- No mistletoe.
Set tone of moderation in invitations, e-mails and memos.
Remind supervisors that they are considered to be a role-model for appropriate behavior.
Secret Santa or Gift Exchange:
- As well as establishing a financial limit, set rules about the nature of the gift.
- Non-personal (e.g. lingerie)
Most Common Cases of Religious Harassment Claims:
- Quid Pro Quo – pressure from supervisor or organization to participate in religious events
- Jokes, especially e-mail
- Overzealous conversion efforts
- Failure to accommodate requests for time off to attend religious services or time off for religious holidays.
What can HR do to increase the awareness of diverse religious practices?
- Calendars – most every major religion has dates of observance, prayer and celebration around December.
- Brown bag lunch speakers – optional attendance
- Decorations that show diversity & even-handedness
- Avoid decorations that are entirely religious
- Memos and reminders to supervisors that this is a time of many holidays, and that the term “Christmas” is to be avoided