My manager and I are having trouble deciding what to do about one of my employee’s latest complaints. This employee tends to complain about a lot of things. Her current complaint is about a generic holiday display on a big bulletin board in our cafeteria/break room. It includes a Santa and the words “HO HO HO!” Our employee says this offends her because it is slang for prostitutes. She says she is offended on religious grounds and because the phrase is demeaning toward women. Our first reaction was that she was being way too sensitive because no one would mistake Santa’s laugh for anything but a laugh. Then she showed us an article about how a Santa school in Australia has taught its Santas not to ever say “Ho Ho Ho” because it is demeaning toward women. Now it seems like her argument is not so weird – but I can’t believe we can’t say “Ho Ho Ho.” Do we need to take down the display?
– Tired of PC B.S.
First things first. Don’t play the PC card. You fell for a hoax. Read what Snopes.com has to say about Santa and “Ho Ho Ho” here.
As for your employee’s complaint – no reasonable person would interpret your bulletin’s board message as having anything to do with prostitutes. Here are the Evil Skippy Rules about the phrase in question:
- If you say “Ho” while pointing at a particular woman, you are calling her a hooker. Or hooker-ish. That should get you in trouble if you do it at work.
- If you say “Ho Ho Ho” while pointing at three women and you are not dressed as Santa, you have some explaining to do.
- If you are Santa or are dressed as Santa or are imitating Santa or are channeling the Santa spirit, “Ho Ho Ho” is officially fine from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. After that, be quiet. You’re annoying me.
Leave up your display. Or not. Your choice.
– Evil Skippy
P.S. Call me closed-minded, but I also think if you are not a rapper and you use the word “ho”, it is a desperate plea for attention and therapy.
Evil Skippy and/or Jim are available to speak at your conferences and seminars! For information or to send a question for Evil Skippy to answer, use the “Contact” link on the left sidebar.