Fed up with the fact his town had a nativity and menorah display each year at the holidays despite the fact that he believed it violated the First Amendment’s Establishment of Religion clause, Chaz Stevens took a different tack this year. The Pulp reports that he applied for and received permission to set up a Festivus pole, or in his words, an anti-religion display.
As most of you probably remember, and if you don’t FestivusWeb.com will fill you in on the details, Festivus is the holiday first mentioned by Frank Costanza on Seinfeld. George then invoked Festivus to get out of trouble with his boss for giving his co-workers Christmas cards that said a donation had been made in their name to a fake charity.
I doubt many employers are getting requests to display the traditional Festivus pole along with the poinsettias, kinaras, and menorahs, but this article did remind me of some of the employee complaints I’ve heard over the years about holiday displays — both the "why can’t I put up my Christmas tree" and "I don’t believe my company should set up a nativity scene" variety of complaints.
Before employers simply say, "Bah, humbug, go back to work," they should be prepared for complaints of religious discrimination. I have clients who simply go the all-inclusive route where every religion is included in the display, go the non-denominational Seasons Greetings route, or say no displays, period. It’s really up to you, but just a reminder to be aware of the issue.
In the meantime, I look forward to December 23rd and the Airing of Grievances, followed by dinner and the Feats of Strength! Happy Festivus!