Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Have a Blessed Day"

When we had our class discussion about religious discrimination, I remembered a case that my dad had discussed with me about a woman being banned from telling people to, "Have a Blessed Day," at work. I decided to look it up and found that it there was such as case, Anderson vs. U.S. F Logistics, that came from the 7th Circuit. Elizabeth Anderson, a follower of the Christian Methodist Episcopal faith, would tell people to "Have a Blessed Day" when signing off to correspondence or as a way to end a telephone conversation. She did not say this all of the time but did say it when signing off with Microsoft. Microsoft said that they did not mind the phrase. Anderson however was reprimanded by her supervisor for saying this a few times and then filed a claim for religious discrimination. Anderson lost the case because the court said that the phrase was not required by her religion and U.S.F Logistics made an accommodation by letting her say the phrase to fellow employees.

Now while I do understand the court's ruling of the case, I sometimes wonder if companies sometimes go too far in restricting their employees. The phrase is a harmless one and does not impose any specific religious beliefs upon others. Further, Microsoft openly expressed that they did not mind the phrase. If the phrase was harmless and she said it to be nice and courteous to others, why did U.S.F take such measures to restrict her from saying it? Going into the workplace next year, I feel as though I am going to have to watch every little thing that I say. It appears to me that people are being restricted and sued for all sorts of little things. I guess I just wonder where companies draw the line... Thoughts???


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