During the month of December all one has to do is go outside to notice that it is the holiday season in the United States. However, while in the US, 71 percent of Americans do identify themselves as Christian according to the Pew Research Center; Christmas and other related holidays are not the only celebrations during the month.

This is important information to remember, especially in the workplace. While the majority of employees may celebrate the Christian holidays, they are not the only holidays to observe and respect.

In fact, employees of your organization could partake in the following December events and celebrations:

  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers, except for religious-based organizations, from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing and other terms and conditions of employment. This law means that all employers must be accommodating to the religious needs of their employees and respect days of observance or celebration.

When it comes to respecting all holidays in the workplace, it is vital for management to be understanding of the unique types of holidays and events during the season. Should an employee need a few days off to partake in a celebration; an employer must be empathetic and courteous.

For in-office holiday events it is important to keep in mind that the party should not be labeled as a, “Christmas party,” “Hanukah party,” “Kwanzaa party,” etc. Labeling a party as such is exclusive and can be offensive to those individuals who do not celebrate those holidays. Having aspects of different December holidays in a party is a good way to expose individuals to customs they have not experienced before. However, make sure that the features include all December holidays to not be disrespectful.

If your office could benefit from gaining greater knowledge about different religions, beliefs and cultures around the holiday season contact CulturaLink. We can evaluate and provide great understanding on how your employees might celebrate the season and what steps must be taken to provide equitable care that leads to a strong organization.