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A Hostile Work Environment
A Note On The Subversion of National Identity
© 2013 James LaFond
Last night at the family Christmas present ceremony I noticed that a relative was thrilled that he had some clothes that could be matched together in red white and blue combinations. While I am not much of an American, or into political identity at all, I understand the appeal, and the importance of national pride to many of the people I have known in my life, particularly men like this who work hard at meaningless jobs and have previously seen service in the military.
He briefly explained to me that he works in facility that does not permit wearing of clothing with U.S. flags, or even flag motifs. He is employed in a cosmetics warehouse that ships to thousands of facilities worldwide, and has 1,100 employees, some of whom are not U.S. citizens.
A female employee was in the habit of working in her traditional Islamic garb, including the veil, and of praying for 15 minutes twice a shift, on company time, without clocking out.
Her unsafe attire was tolerated.
Her religious observances while being paid for work that was not being done, were tolerated.
Earlier this year an employee wore a Harley Davidson shirt with an American flag motif. The Muslim lady complained that this constituted a ‘hostile work environment’, and that she should not be subjected to working in the presence of American flags.
The company drafted rules stipulating that no flag of any nation might be worn to work by an employee. Many employees subverted this by combining their clothing in red white and blue. The rules also stipulated that religious garb was not to be worn on the job, and that religious observances were to be done off the clock.
The Muslim woman soon quit her job for unspecified reasons.
As someone interested in the ages old process by which social control over human behavior has been transferred from family structures, to ethnic organisms, to religious hierarchies, then to nation states, and now to corporate entities, I find this simple tale of layered mind-control traditions, overlapping with some friction in day-to-day life, to be quite interesting.
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