Avoiding Holiday Liability - Holiday Gift Exchanges - Part 4/4

Avoiding Holiday Liability

Holiday Gift Exchanges - Part 4 of 4

Holiday Gift Exchanges may seem innocent enough but they can potentially present problems. 

In addition to making sure this is not a required practice in the city workplace for all the reasons stated in the previous article on religious accommodations, employers should also maintain a harassment-free workplace under Title VII. If employees participate in holiday gift exchanges, employers should make clear that gifts should be respectful and appropriate for the workplace, in addition to the fact that it is not a city sanctioned event. For example, employees should not be permitted to exchange materials containing graphic words or content, or holiday cards of an adult nature, or anything that may be considered as harassment in general. While one employee may find such gifts humorous, another employee may take offense, especially if the gift is presented in a room full of co-workers.

As I said in the previous article, this is a good time to circulate your harassment policy throughout the workplace.  Or, if you don’t have a policy in place, it is a good time to implement one. 

For more information, sample policies or questions contact Andrea Shindlebower at ashindlebower@klc.org.