After last year’s unfortunate DOL investigation (which we reported in The Labor Department’s View of Santa’s Workshop), Santa decided to bring in an experienced Human Resources Director to shore things up.
Susan Walker, a long time HR practitioner at Macy’s, had been looking to make a change and was thrilled to sign on with a true Mom and Pop operation. She was really looking forward to her first Christmas at the North Pole.
Susan had heard that things were not all merry and bright in the workshop so she scheduled some informational interviews with key members of the various departments, starting with Transportation & Delivery. Her first appointment was with Rudolph, whose red nose immediately lit up the room as he walked in. Susan greeted him and told him how much she loved hearing about his magical journey on that famous foggy Christmas Eve. She was surprised when Rudolph snarled back:
“Magical? What a lump of coal that is. I never had any training to lead the sleigh so why did I get stuck out there under those conditions? That’s gotta be some sort of OSHA violation.”
Susan replied that at least now the rest of the reindeer love him but Rudolph continued:
“Not really, because when I complained to Santa about that horrible trip, he just laughed and left the room. I think he must have told the others because I’m back to not being allowed to join in any reindeer games. Now when my shift is over, it’s just one silent night after another. We’ll see who is Ho Ho Ho’ing once I file my retaliation claim.”
Rudolph stormed out, the warm red glow of his nose now replaced by a bleak midwinter air.
A Blue Christmas?
Susan’s next appointment was with Vixen, another of the reindeer team that pulls Santa’s sleigh. She looked both nervous and sad, telling Susan she was relieved to have another female to talk to about the horrible things being said in the workshop. Susan offered that she has never come across anything like that during her visits to the shop but Vixen cut her off:
“Do you hear what I hear? I mean – Vixen isn’t even my real name. The guys just call me that and say things like how I really jingle their bells, whatever that means. I’m no vixen and I don’t want to be called that. I feel like I’m being sexually harassed but I’m scared that if I complain, I’ll just get the Rudolph treatment.”
Susan asked what she wanted to see happen and Vixen replied “I just want it to stop. My real name is Madge – can’t they just call me that?” Vixen then glanced out the office window and a sudden sense of panic seemed to overtake her as she exclaimed “Here comes Santa Claus. I can’t let him see me talking to you.” She then bolted out of the room and down the hall.
No Christmas Cheer
Just then, Donder and Blitzen burst through the door, the smell of peppermint schnapps filling the room. “People think it’s all candy canes and tinsel around here but they have no idea” said Donder. He went on:
“Every year it’s the same thing – we get stuck in the back row. All night long, over seven continents, all we see is the south end of north bound reindeer. We’ve had it – we are on strike until we get moved up in line.”
Susan knew that concerted activity like this can be protected under the National Labor Relations Act so she needed to tread carefully. She told them she would look into it, to which Donder replied:
“Well, I’m not working until this gets resolved. You got 12 days to figure this out, otherwise I’ll be home for Christmas – you can plan on that.” Blitzen then chimed in. “Same here. There’s no place like home for the holidays.”
They both laughed uproariously, high-fived each other (which isn’t easy with hooves) and shuffled out.
Nobody else was in the waiting area so Susan began reviewing witness statements from last night’s sugar plum incident. Suddenly from out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, she sprang from her chair to see what was the matter. Looking out her window she saw several smallish figures who seemed pretty angry. They were carrying signs saying things like “Santa is on my naughty list” and “All I want for Christmas is $15.00 an hour.”
Susan decided to go talk to them and had just taken her first step out the door when she heard Blitzen call out “Where’s your coat? Baby, it’s cold outside.” The sounds of laughter filled the air.
Susan sighed and thought “This may not be such a Merry Christmas after all.”
The Minnesota Employment Law Report wishes all of our loyal readers a very joyous holiday.