Relax, it’s Just a Pinch? This Could be the Wrong St. Patrick’s Day Mantra

For many, St. Patricks’ day conjures images of day drinking, parades, hoards of people wearing green, and of course the singling out and systematic battery of those who choose not to conform. Although the pursuit of a civil battery action against someone who pinched another on St. Patrick’s Day sounds ridiculous, there is a growing segment of the population who is offended by what they consider to be a vile and non-playful holiday tradition.

As with anything else, employers need to be cognizant of the sensitivities of their employees at all times, and should follow a strict set of guidelines when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, or any other holiday that could cause even the slightest offense. Failure to do so could have expensive results.

Background on St. Patrick’s Day in the United States

The tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s day started in the 1700’s in the United States when revelers felt wearing green would keep leprechauns away. The green-wearing clan would pinch anyone not wearing green as a reminder that the leprechauns were going to sneak up on the abstainers and cause them harm.

As you can see, the tradition carries with it a long-standing sense of “in-group” versus “out-group” mentality. While innocent in nature by most social standards, this sort of divisiveness is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be prevented in the office setting. Therefore, it is extremely important to set some guidelines reminding employees that while the company encourages celebration and expression of beliefs and all heritages, employees have a right to be free from offensive touching in the workplace. In short, it is best to leave the “pinch” to places where it is more acceptable, wherever that may be.

St. Patrick’s Day Can be Stressful

A woman recently wrote an article articulating her stress over St. Patrick’s Day while growing up. Therein, the author detailed her account of forgetting to wear green and being pinched and ostracized by her classmates, leading to psychological turmoil years later.

It is not hard to envision the scenario where an employee who was traumatized as a child at school over a simple holiday tradition may feel uncomfortable with such a celebration in his or her adult place of employment. Therefore, it is simply best to train managers and employees on boundaries for all holidays, including the mid-March celebration. Suffice to say, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” is probably an inappropriate comment to make in the office as well!

Online Training Courses Prepare Your Managers for the Most Abstract of Situations

Prior to reading this article you probably never thought you would encounter a situation where you would need to police the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the office. This sort of surprise is where online harassment training is extremely useful. Syntrio’s courses use real-life scenarios similar to the one discussed above to instruct managers on how to identify potential harassment problems before they start.

Syntrio’s team of experts are ready to show you more about our vast learning management systems, which include a variety of employee-privacy based courses to suit all needs. If you feel you need more specific training to your particular business or industry we would be more than happy to create a custom course for you. Contact Syntrio for more information and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your business!