(OPINION) You can celebrate LGBT Pride and wear a Black Lives Matter button throughout your day as a King County employee. But you better not show a nativity set or menorah on your digital workspace or your home office.
King County Human Resources warned employees not to decorate their workspaces with overtly Christmas or Hanukkah decorations. They fear decorations may offend employees.
Gloria Ngezaho, Workforce Equity Manager for the Department of Human Resources, authored a memo titled “Guidelines for Holiday Decorations for King County Employees” to outline expectations. It says the county “remains committed to honoring the diversity in its workforce and is fortunate to have employees from many diverse backgrounds.”
Just don’t go too far. “Before adding any decorations to your workspace (including your virtual workspace), consider the likely effect of such decorations on all of the employees in and outside your work group,” reads the memo obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH by a county staffer who found it posted internally last week.
The county has employees so hostile to religious symbols (real or perceived), it focuses warnings primarily on virtual backgrounds. This presumably extends to your office home office if it’s shown on webcam.
“Some employees may not share your religion, practice any religion, or share your enthusiasm for holiday decorations. Displays of religious symbols may only be displayed in an employee’s personal workspace. Religious symbols should not be displayed in or as a background to an employee’s virtual workspace,” the memo explains.
The memo says you cannot include Nativity sets or menorahs. But the list of symbols banned from virtual display extends well beyond what you would display for the holidays: stars of David, a cross or a crucifix, and images of Jesus or Mary.
To ensure that HR isn’t accused of focusing exclusively on Christians and Jews, even though that appears to be the intent, the memo warns against the dharma wheel, crescent and star, aum, khanda, and a nine-pointed star. None of these symbols are displayed for the holiday season.
You can, however, decorate with snowflakes, wreaths, and holly. You can even show pine trees, “so long as they are not decorated with religious symbols.” (SOURCE)