Dear Evil Skippy: Can We Talk About Cheeses?
I have not been a supervisor for very long. Please be kind to me. I can take a slap if one is necessary.
One of my 25 employees is a bit of a whiner. She does satisfactory work and shows up on time. The problem is she tends to complain about a lot of little things. That’s why I want your opinion. She has complained to me again. I think I am dealing with a “little thing” again but want your view as to whether I might actually be heading for trouble.
Here’s what is happening. Another employee – who has never caused problems in the past – wore a t-shirt to work. It had a picture of a big hunk of Swiss and said “What A Friend We Have In Cheeses!” My whiner employee says that this offends her on religious grounds. My gut says no way, but is my gut too insensitive? Could this offend anyone?
Of course it can offend someone. It can offend an entire group of people – the lactose intolerant. How dare your employee be so cruel? What is he or she going to do next – organize an ice cream social?
As far as your whiner employee goes, I don’t think she has a prayer. The t-shirt is a pun. Unless it violates your dress code somehow, it should not be banned just based on the play on words. Despite the implied reference to Jesus, it is not mocking a specific religion or religion in general. Your whiner employee might be bothered by it, but that does not mean the other employee can’t wear it. If we banned every single thing that bothered just one person, we’d all be held hostage to the whims of some weirdo. Let’s not go there. Management gets to make a reasonable decision about what is and is not all right in the workplace. As long as management is being reasonable and people are being treated fairly, everyone should be fine.
Stop calling the whiner a whiner (since we have to be respectful and all that stuff), but tell her the shirt is allowed. If she has some other reason other than the words on the shirt to feel she is being treated badly based on religion, she should tell you about it. If there is nothing else, she needs to stop complaining and get back to work.
– Evil Skippy
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