TEXAS-- Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities service wrote this an email to their employees across the state. It reads: "This is a reminder to all staff that prayer is considered a religious activity and therefore should not be included in unit/staff meetings at any time, not just the holidays."
The DADS director wrote the email after someone was concerned that specific religions were being observed in work meetings. Cecilia Federov with DADS says, "We do not want to violate anybody's civil rights. Because we do have such a diverse workforce, we just want to make sure that during work hours and work activities, nobody feels singled out or left out.
The email also warns not to celebrate religion during work holiday festivities. DADS says their intention is to respect all of their employees.
Here is the whole email sent to KETK by a concerned DADS employee:
From: Ahmed,Carol D (DADS)
Subject: Christmas Theme for staff meetings
Our staff represent a diversity of cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, a factor which is more evident in some regions than what it may be in others. It is not appropriate at any time for workplace activities to promote or reflect a specific religious belief; religious activities must be limited to non-working hours and periods of time. It is likewise not appropriate that activities intended for full-staff participation promote any one selected religion. This is a season of many prominent religious celebrations----Eid al-Adha for the Muslims, Bodhi Day for the Buddhist community, as well as Chanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa to name but a few----and whether or not your management team is aware of individuals that may have beliefs divergent from the majority, it is a measure of respect and consideration for all staff to ensure holiday festivities do not reflect religious practice. It is also a requirement of the DADS work rules.
I hope each region has the opportunity to celebrate the many accomplishments of individuals, families, and the program during this holiday season. This has been a year of many challenges, and many rewards. Celebrate, and be thankful for the many opportunities we have had as individuals and as a program to prosper.
Carol Ahmed, Ed.D.
Director of Survey Operations
DADS Regulatory Services