Author Topic: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers  (Read 7825 times)

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Slartibartfast

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2013, 06:10:33 PM »
In a general sense, I think it's unreasonable to try to say co-workers can't give lottery tickets / unopened alcohol to each other.  However, I think a dirty santa swap is a different story:

1) The gifts aren't intended for any specific person, and as has been noted, some people do have moral issues about these sorts of things.

2) In a dirty santa swap, there's a good chance that you may get stuck with something you don't want.  It's entirely possible for a participant to end up winning alcohol/lottery tickets they don't want, through no fault of their own.

3) People have many different reasons for not wanting specific gifts - religious, cultural, addictions, etc.  These reasons ought to be private and gift swap participants shouldn't have to announce their reasons to their co-workers.

4) We know there was at least one participant who had ethical problems with alcohol and lottery tickets (the director), and she was in a unique position to know if other people were in the same boat.  It's logical to assume that someone else who opposed alcohol would come to her privately rather than to everyone else in the workplace.

5) There are a million possible presents to give at this sort of exchange - removing alcohol and lottery tickets doesn't really reduce the number of potential gifts by any appreciable amount.

6) Someone who has moral issues with things like alcohol and gambling can't just necessarily just regift something they didn't want, unlike a recipient could with most unwanted items.  (I know there are things I would have moral objections to receiving, and those same moral objections would prohibit me from donating the item to charity or giving it to someone else.)

7) It's unfair and un-fun for participants if they know there's a significant chance they'll get a "gift" they have to immediately throw in the trash - especially if they object to supporting that particular industry and they know the money has already been spent on their behalf.

8) It's easy to say "just sit out," but that's not always feasible.  These gift exchanges are usually a large part of the planned party, and some offices make it socially impossible to back out.

So given all those things, I think it's reasonable for a work party to have a "no alcohol / no lottery tickets" rule, even if most of the people there like them.  It would also be reasonable to ban other things - tobacco, pork products, pornography, etc.  (I think banning things like "all animal products" would be iffier because of point #5 - ensuring your gift was animal-cruelty-free is a much larger burden than just avoiding a few broad categories.)

Yvaine

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #46 on: January 04, 2013, 06:20:15 PM »
So given all those things, I think it's reasonable for a work party to have a "no alcohol / no lottery tickets" rule, even if most of the people there like them.  It would also be reasonable to ban other things - tobacco, pork products, pornography, etc.  (I think banning things like "all animal products" would be iffier because of point #5 - ensuring your gift was animal-cruelty-free is a much larger burden than just avoiding a few broad categories.)

But if you want that to be a rule, you have to make the rule beforehand. Things like booze are a common enough "generic holiday gift" that it can't be totally unexpected that someone might put it in the exchange (for example, a bottle of Bailey's seems ubiquitous at these things, in my experience). No one on this thread would have any issue if the supervisor had laid that out as a rule to begin with.

ladyknight1

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2013, 07:07:49 PM »
No alcohol was ever opened at one of these gift exchanges. Of the staff, a few people abstain altogether, and there is usually some switching after the party to make sure everyone is content. Two years ago, I opened and was able to keep a box of Amaretto with beautiful glasses.

Out of 20 gifts, 4 were alcohol related and only one person abstains, and switched her gift for a decorative item. There is usually a dollar amount set, and nothing was banned before this.

mbbored

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2013, 12:00:13 AM »
So given all those things, I think it's reasonable for a work party to have a "no alcohol / no lottery tickets" rule, even if most of the people there like them.  It would also be reasonable to ban other things - tobacco, pork products, pornography, etc.  (I think banning things like "all animal products" would be iffier because of point #5 - ensuring your gift was animal-cruelty-free is a much larger burden than just avoiding a few broad categories.)

But if you want that to be a rule, you have to make the rule beforehand. Things like booze are a common enough "generic holiday gift" that it can't be totally unexpected that someone might put it in the exchange (for example, a bottle of Bailey's seems ubiquitous at these things, in my experience). No one on this thread would have any issue if the supervisor had laid that out as a rule to begin with.

And if that rule has never been established, it's hardly fair to cancel a party for TWO years as punishment.

blarg314

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #49 on: January 05, 2013, 12:15:32 AM »

As a comparison to some of the other examples - at my current employer (research institute located on a university campus) there are no regulations about alcohol on campus. We've had work approved social events at three pm in the afternoon, on a work day, with beer and wine. At one point the campus 7-11 was selling beer.

One of my previous employers (same thing, different research institute and campus, but in the US this time) had a tradition of 5pm shots, plus a monthly wine and cheese potluck (at the end of the work day, on site). The shots came about during a particularly intense period of work for a space mission - 12 hour days were not unusual, and some groups were having twice daily status meetings at 9am and 3pm.  A group would meet at 5pm, have martini shots, and go back to work for the next four or five hours.  (After science verification was over, and the schedule normalized, it was pulled back to Fridays only).

[And no, these were not the people *controlling* the spacecraft, just analyzing the data that came from it...  ;D]

If the manager is trying to impose their religious views on their people in contradiction of campus rules, and is banning employees from socializing with each after hours, I'd make a beeline to the campus ombudsmen office, in a group, with an official complain in writing. That's got to violate all sorts of university policies.

Raintree

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Re: Rude to Impose Morality on Co-Workers
« Reply #50 on: January 05, 2013, 04:36:32 AM »
I can't even imagine not being allowed to put a bottle of wine in as a gift for a Secret Santa, for the recipient to take home and consume there (or give away, if he or she doesn't want it). It's no different from any other gift that the recipient may or may not want. I've received plenty of SS gifts in my time, that I had no use for. A bottle of wine would be most welcome!!

It's one thing to say, "I don't drink or gamble" but to tell others that they must not drink or gamble in their own homes is a bit much. I don't particularly welcome a box of chocolates as a gift, as it's too much temptation for me, but far be it for me to complain about its existence in a Secret Santa.