Author Topic: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers  (Read 7856 times)

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ladyknight1

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Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« on: December 31, 2012, 09:31:04 PM »
B/G: I work for a large university. There are 5 separate segments of our department, each with their own director. These segments are divided by location, east, west, south, central and headquarters. Each segment is run slightly differently, but under the same general rules.

As positions come available at headquarters, staff from each of the other segments apply and sometimes transfer into headquarters. One of those staff members who has been with us for less than a year, has relayed the story below.

The after-hours office party at one of the segments was a dirty Santa gift exchange, and attended by most staff, including the director. A few of the gifts were alcohol, and one was scratch-off lottery tickets. The director had a fit when the alcohol was opened, then another when the lottery tickets were opened. She passed a rule that no alcohol or gambling could be on property, in or out of hours. She also cancelled the parties for the next two years.

Alcohol and the lottery are legal in my state. Our governing rules, as state employees, do not prohibit alcohol or lottery tickets. Is the director within etiquette to place such a segment-wide ban on these things?

delabela

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 09:40:29 PM »
This shows the tension that often happens in these kind of situations - it's a mix of a work function and a social function, so do social mores (where one adult can not dictate the gifts another gives) or work mores (where she's the one who gets to lay down the law) govern? 

I think it's a silly reaction, but probably not poor etiquette.  My gut says it's more work conventions than normal social ones.

m2kbug

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 09:52:03 PM »
This is a touchy one.  If the business is hosting a party and they don't want alcohol and gambling on the premises, then no alcohol or lottery.  I've been to plenty of dry parties.  If this one boss is implementing her own morals or restrictions while the corporate office has no such rules, then I guess someone needs to say something to the higher ups. 

The office parties I have attended, if it's in a restaurant establishment or other type of venue, alcohol is fine.  If it's in the office, notsomuch.  I think there might be some liability issues around serving alcohol, drunk driving, minors drinking. 


mrkitty

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 10:05:54 PM »
I think it's kind of an over-reaction on the director's part in terms of the gift of a lottery ticket. Ironic, too, considering that all of the state lotteries (as far as I'm aware) help support public education in their respective states. (!) (Although I don't know if that funding extends to the post-secondary level, but still - education!)

The alcohol is a little bit of a different issue, I think. I attended a public university back when they had a pub that served beer on campus. But at the same time, I heard talk of all state campuses going alcohol-free because (at least at my school) binge drinking was a real problem. I know my university system eventually went totally tobacco-free and I think (but can't confirm) they went alcohol-free as well, AND there was talk of trying to ensure that all Greek houses would be alcohol-free, too.

So, even if state employees had no rules pertaining to drinking, I don't know if there are any university-employee rules or general university rules about alcohol on campus? If so, then I can understand the freak-out about the alcohol.

But from what it sounds like, I think the director may just have personal/moral issues with lottery/alcohol. Unless there are some rules the OP didn't mention (which I doubt, just saying for the sake of argument), then I think the director was totally out of line, and in terms of etiquette? Commenting in the negative about any presents traded sounds like a massive etiquette breach (but that is just my uninformed opinion).

To me, it sounds like the director was just moralizing and doing exactly what the OP thinks she was doing, which I think is wrong on a whole bunch of different levels.
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ladyknight1

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 10:06:12 PM »
The alcohol was part of the gift exchange, a bottle of wine in a nice bag or a gift set of a liqueur. No consumption of alcohol took place.

Venus193

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 10:07:18 PM »
Is she related to Ebenezer Scrooge?  I mean, really!

I think this may be the beginning of a major morale problem.

ladyknight1

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 10:11:15 PM »
There is a bit of a morale problem already. Even salaried staff are required to log their in and out times, including breaks and lunches, which happens no where else. This is just the latest in a long line of strange rules.

mrkitty

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 10:12:37 PM »
The alcohol was part of the gift exchange, a bottle of wine in a nice bag or a gift set of a liqueur. No consumption of alcohol took place.


I thought that's what you meant. In my university, they were talking about the presence of any alcohol on campus  - didn't matter if it was an open container or not or being consumed or not. I was just wondering if the mere presence of alcohol (opened or not) was in violation of some university policy? Because if not....then your director sounds like she was massively  over-reacting and a real drag to have to deal with.
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m2kbug

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2012, 10:13:01 PM »
The alcohol was part of the gift exchange, a bottle of wine in a nice bag or a gift set of a liqueur. No consumption of alcohol took place.

You said, "When the alcohol was opened."  I assumed that to mean the bottle of wine or liquor was opened, which is usually accompanied by consuming...you meant the wrapping paper.   :)  Right?

Well that just changes everything!  Yeah, that's not right.

Sharnita

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 10:13:52 PM »
I think this is paricularly tricky if this is a state university and the party is held in the office/on property.  It is after hours but the building is paid for at least in part with tax money, employees are not on the clock but still do have jobs where they (kinda) work for the government. There is a whole lot of grey area even without the director's personal morality involved.

In some ways, it seems like it would be better for employees to have a party without superiors and off campus.

FWIW, as a DIrty Santa present I do think that lottery tickets or alcohol are risky because there are people who have moral issues with them. 

mrkitty

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 10:18:34 PM »
I sincerely apologize for doing this, (kind of hijacking the thread) but I'm dying of curiosity.

What on earth is a Dirty Santa party? I have never heard of one. I've heard of a Secret Santa party, but not Dirty Santa. Again, my apologies for asking - but if someone would please enlighten me? thx  ;D
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Sharnita

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 10:23:24 PM »
I sincerely apologize for doing this, (kind of hijacking the thread) but I'm dying of curiosity.

What on earth is a Dirty Santa party? I have never heard of one. I've heard of a Secret Santa party, but not Dirty Santa. Again, my apologies for asking - but if someone would please enlighten me? thx  ;D

I assume it is the same as what we call Yankee Swap.  You bring a gift that could be for anyone - not a specific recipient so you have no idea of likes/dislikes.  Then the gifts all go into a pile, evrybody graws so that there is a random order for choosing gifts.  The first person picks a gift.  The next person can either steal their gift and send them back to the pile or take a wrapped gift from the pile.  And so it goes.

ladyknight1

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2012, 10:32:42 PM »
Correct, Sharnita. They used to be called by several ethnic slurs, so dirty Santa is our PC term.

There is no policy against alcohol being on the premises, and it happens at all of them, so it is fairly common in our environment.

mrkitty

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 10:32:58 PM »
Ahhh. I see. I thought it meant a whole different kind of party.  ;D

 Thank you, Sharnita!  ;D You just saved me a whole lot of head-banging-on-desk confusion!

Again, sorry for having digressed.   :D Back to regularly-scheduled programming...

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Amava

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2012, 10:34:31 PM »
You know what amuses me a bit? Alcohol and lottery tickets are sooo immoral, but the director had no problem with the "Dirty Santa" game in itself - a big part of which is this little thing called  "stealing", if I remember correctly! rofl

I know, I know, it's all "stealing in good fun". But still. LOL