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Onionhead or Off Their Head?

BY Paul Deans
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Now, I have no doubt that most of us spring out of bed on a wet Monday morning, full of excitement for the delights of the working week ahead.

We express our gratification to the big man upstairs for the mountain of work on our desks and bursting inboxes then shower our management with sheer love and devotion. Whilst most of us do this voluntarily, of course, the practice became a requirement for the unfortunate employees of the Cost Containment Group across the pond. 

The Long-Island based company compelled its employees to practice the spiritual belief of ‘Onionhead’ (geddit? No me neither), which involved group prayers thanking God for their jobs, the displaying of ‘Onionhead’ paraphernalia and the occasional exclamation of ‘I love you’ to their managers at work. Call me old fashioned, but in my opinion for one to practice a belief it is useful, if not necessary, that they actually believe in it. This point was overlooked by the company – should an employee raise it with them, they would subsequently be dismissed! 

Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit has been filed against the company on behalf of the dismissed employees on the basis that employers are not permitted to dictate this area of workers’ lives. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contends that the practice – which has been ongoing for seven years no less – violates federal employment law. I can’t help but wonder if the Cost Containment Group will be praising the Lord when the damages bill comes through for this one...

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