In DEI discussions, there’s a lot of talk about equality versus equity. How treating everyone the same isn’t the same as treating everyone fairly. At Ask A Manager, this came up because of how religious days are dealt with in different jobs. In a Christian-based society (which America is, even if people don’t want to admit/acknowledge it). Hell, Christmas is a federal holiday. The fact that many people don’t consider it a Christian holiday is how dominant the religion is in this country. It’s easy to say as the majority that you don’t think of it as Christian holiday.
The discussion is about how to be fair to people from other religions. In Judaism, for example, there are Purim, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hoshanah, and more. For Muslims, there are Ramadam, Eid-ul-Fitr, and more. Alison made it the “Ask the readers” question of the week, and there have been several interesting answers.
The one that irritates me, though, is that people with no religino get no extra-day. One person said it’s like people without children don’t get days off for parent-related things and people who aren’t sick don’t take off sick days. Which is fine in each individual situation, I guess, but it’s aggravating in the aggregate. More than one person brought up this point without acknowledging that some people won’t need any of those things. But I know that people don’t give a shit about me (not me personally, but the categories that I’m in) because I’m not a parent, I’m not religious, I’m not married, I don’t have parents who depend upon me, or anything like that.
People are suggesting floating holidays or the ability to swap (so you can work Christmas if you want, asy Yom Kippur off). Or floating holidays that you can use for any day that is personally meaningful to you. What if you don’t have either of those? I do’nt care about holidays. At all. But if I was working in an office, I would want my fair share of days off. If I was working in an office, I would have had to take time off for my medical crisis. Other than that, though, I don’t need any of the other things being talked about.
That’s why I think if the office is open for Christmas, swapping days plus a standard number of days for floating holidays would work fairly well, I tihkn. I hate the argument that any inequity is done by the employer and not the employee who gets the benefits. I mean, I agree in theory, but if the employee getting the perks is putting pressure on their coworker (like a parent bugging a coworker without children) to take a shift, do their work, etc., then that coworker is part of the problem. An active one.
A few people in the thread said that the best thing to do was to just give everyone a set amount of days and let them use the days for whatever they wanted. THat’s the camp I would be in as well. People were saying that religious people from minority religions get shafted by this, but to a certain extent there is no way that it can be completely equal. Or truly fair.
I don’t know what the solution is. Honestly. This is the problem when it comes to equality in the workplace. There is no way to be completely fair. Or to get the equity correct. Because human beings are different and have different needs. All the ones rattled off by the people in the comments are things that would not affect me for the most part. In addition, I wouldn’t be able to eat any food offered by any company, either. Or accept any gifts because I am allergic to so many things.
So, yeah, I’m the extreme outlier. I am the one that AAM coined ‘not everyone can eat sandwichs’ for. That’s to mean the one weirdo who doesn’t fit in any of the boxes and cannot eat/do anything other people can. Basically, it was established because people wouldalways point out the extreme case as a reason not to do something (usually a food thing or a team-building activity). While I’m not down with meaningless team-building activities, I do agrre that it’s impossible to find one that will satisfy everyone.
Alison usually suggests to provide a variety of activities in order to make sure that everyone can at least participate in some. For that kind of thing, I agree that’s the best you can do. Do an escape room one time, trivia the next, bowling the third, and then rotate.
I think food is different because if you’re offering food to employees, everyone should be able to eat. Yes, it may be more difficult to find the exact food some people can eat (like me), but if you want to make your employees feel valued, you go that extra distance. A shocking number of the people in the AAM commentariat, who are in general fairly progressive and empathetic, shrugged off vegetarians and other people with dietary needs not being able to get the food they needed. Specifically in buffet/bulk order situations. They honestly didn’t see anything wrong with taking a slice of vegetarian pizza (cheese, for example), even if they didn’t specify they wanted the vegetarian pizza. They said it was the fault of the organizer and it wasn’t up to them to keep track of what was for whom.
When pointed out that if they ate vegetarian when they didn’t order it, that meant their colleague would go hungry, they didn’t seem to care. “Not my problem,” they declared. Yet,I bet if they were made to go to the end of the line behind everyone with specific dietary needs, they would grumble about that, too.
Some said that just because they ate meat, it didn’t mean they wanted to eat it at every meal. The argument that their vegetarian colleagues had to eat veggie at every meal or go hungry did not move them. It’s the psychology of being in a crowd and in being ‘anonymous’ so to speak. Very few people would literally take a slice of pizza from a coworker’s hand, but they had no problem doing it figuratively because there was no individual responsibility.
It’s the same reason Minnesotans are terrible drivers. There’s a thing called ‘Minnesota Nice’ in that we are nice to people’s faces, only to rip them to bits behind their backs. To make up for it, we’re terrible on the roads. It grants us an anonymity to let out our dark sides.
How did I get here? There I go down the winding path again. I’m done for now.