Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Diversity another challenge for company holiday galas


Diversity another challenge for company holiday galas

BRANDON KLEIN, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

Small and large businesses have often need to navigate with caution when organizing their own corporate holiday parties.

While the sexual harassment issue has become a primary focus when such occasions come to mind, businesses may also need to consider the diverse makeup of its workforce.

"Holiday-time diversity used to mean just adding a Hanukkah menorah to the decorations," Michael Hyter, a Boston diversity consultant, told "Employers must be sensitive to the religious beliefs of their employees and create more flexible celebrations to include all of them."

But Doug Kauffman, an employment attorney in Alabama, said on the Society for Human Resources Management blog that holiday parties are fine to have.

"You have to be careful not to water down the season just to be politically correct or sensitive to those who don't celebrate," he said.

North Carolina attorney Robin Shea said on the blog it helps if businesses understand how diverse their workforce is.

"You don't want to pry into the religious beliefs of your employees," she said. "But you might generally know, this is a predominantly Christian workplace with some Jews, or most employees are non-practicing for their religion, with some atheists."

The SHRM report recommended that businesses should be careful about what decorations they have should have in the workplace (a Christmas tree may be secular enough versus a manger), the timing of such celebrations, special diets and to make such activities voluntary rather than mandatory.

On the other hand, businesses shouldn't get bogged down in the details such as whether it's OK to wish people a "Merry Christmas" versus a "Happy Holidays," Elizabeth Woodard writes for the Employee Communications Council.

But she did say it’s helpful to have decorations from a variety of religions for a diverse workforce or keep it secular. More importantly is to make sure parties accommodate what people can eat.

"Different religions have different dietary needs," Woodard said. "Some religions believe that all life is sacred and might be vegan, some who practice Judaism keep kosher, Islam forbids eating pork, the list goes on."

She added that employers can ask employees to bring their own dishes to make it a pot luck celebration.

On the other hand, Sondra Thiedeerman, a diversity consultant, stated in a report that employers should strive for neutrality as much as possible. She recommended companies allow employees to bring families because the concept transcends different backgrounds and helps with logistical issues such as childcare.

"Focus more on what we share and less on where we differ," she said.

Date Published: December 19, 2018


Copyright © 2018 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved


American priest from Ohio charged with sexually abusing Filipino boys

An American priest from Cincinnati has been charged by a federal criminal complaint for allegedly sexually abusing minor boys.

Grange unveils home cyber protection product

With a greater number of smart devices comes a greater risk of cybercrime.

New legislative report on education, poverty offers recommendations

A legislative task force charged with taking a deep look at poverty's impact on the education of Ohio's children and any resultant achievement gap between rich and poor students has wrapped up its work and filed a report.

House passes bill exempting service dogs of Ohio veterans from some fees

Pet lovers and armchair political commentators alike confirmed the soft spot Americans have for their canine companions upon observing the late-President George H.W. Bush's service dog lying alongside his flag-draped coffin.

Ohio law permits adult adoptions

Adopting an adult in Ohio

Two Toledo-area residents arrested and charged for preparing separate, unrelated terrorism attacks

A Toledo woman was arrested and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack.

Victims of attorney theft awarded money from lawyers' fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has awarded $240,000 to 16 victims of attorney theft. Eight former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. One attorney, since deceased, also was involved in the claims presented to the Board of Commissioners.

ABA releases new standards for care and representation of unaccompanied child immigrants

The American Bar Association Commission on Immigration has released a new set of standards for the detention, care and legal representation of unaccompanied child immigrants. It is an indispensable guide for immigration authorities, lawyers and advocates.

Attorney General DeWine announces multistate consumer protection settlement with one of largest debt buyers

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently announced a multistate consumer protection settlement with one of the nation’s largest debt buyers – Encore Capital Group and its subsidiaries Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management – to require the company to reform its debt buying and collection practices.

California lawyer fined for unauthorized practice of law in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court recently fined a California lawyer and his firm $2,000 for representing an Ohioan in a debt collection case in the state without having a license to practice law in Ohio.

Ohio man convicted of trying to join ISIS

A federal judge has convicted a Jordanian national residing in Dayton of attempting and conspiring to join ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Ohio recognized as leader in electric grid modernization

Ohio was recently recognized with an "Outstanding Progress Award" by the GridWise Alliance for its accomplishments in rapidly expanding grid modernization efforts. GridWise cited the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)’s PowerForward Roadmap as the major factor for Ohio’s improved ranking in this year’s Gridwise Modernization Index (GMI).

Ohio’s Superintendent recognizes next round of Purple Star schools

In celebrations today at Eastwood High School (Wood County) and Whitehouse Primary School (Lucas County), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria announced that 57 Ohio schools received the Purple Star designation for their commitment to serving military-connected students and their families.

Man sentenced to 17 years for sex trafficking women by exploiting their opioid addictions

Rashad Sabree, 37, of Boston, Massachusetts, was sentenced recently in federal court in the District of Maine to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution after previously pleading guilty to two count of sex trafficking. In sentencing the defendant, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Levy highlighted the degree of cruelty that the defendant’s crimes involved and its impact on the victims. The sentence was announced by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank of the District of Maine, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division.

Drug-trafficking nurse practitioner, other work comp cheats convicted recently

Eight Ohioans convicted on workers’ compensation fraud or related charges in November include a Springfield nurse practitioner who pleaded guilty to felony drug trafficking and a Cleveland-area man who collected $245,000 in disability benefits while working construction jobs since 2009.

Evans Landscaping officials convicted of defrauding city, state 'small business' programs

A jury has convicted Evans Landscaping, Inc. and company executives on all counts charged in a fraud case.

Nursing home barred from seeking outstanding bill payment from surviving spouse

A creditor must seek payment of unpaid bills from a deceased spouse’s estate before attempting to collect payment from the surviving spouse, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled recently.

Ohio woman sentenced for committing tax fraud

Tawnya Writesel, also known as Tawnya Rutan, 40, of Columbus, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 12 months and one day in prison and was ordered to pay more than $108,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for conspiring to submit false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS.

Ohio Attorney General's Office now accepting National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest entries

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging Ohio fifth graders and their teachers to take part in the 2019 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest.

Trees to Textbooks invests in local schools, communities

Sixteen rural Ohio school districts and their corresponding counties and townships will share more than $2.3 million from the sale of timber from Ohio’s state forests, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).