You know how you put on your "out of office message" in Microsoft Outlook when on leave...
Well, I was responsible and did just that.
My message was typical informing people that I was out, when I plan to return, and who to contact about urgent matters in my (brief) absence.
But something astonishing happened then...
I actually got a reply to my out of office message from an executive scolding me about it--imagine this being how government time is spent.
Yes and dun da da dum...here was my big offense to this senior executive, in my out of office message, I simply used the words "Please G-d," as in:
"I am out of the office and plan to return, please G-d, on [such and such day and date]."
The message I received back in my inbox:
"I'm not sure what the 'please G+d' reference means. It's a bit confusing. You may want to delete it."
OMG, I was being admonished in the federal government for using the words "Please G-d" in my out of office message--for simply respecting and recognizing Him/Her.
- What is confusing about "Please G-d"?
- And how can anyone ask that I delete G-d from my message or in any way from my life???
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states under religious discrimination and harassment that:
"Harassment, can include, for example offensive remarks about a person's beliefs or religious practices."
Further, "the law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employees religious beliefs and practices," barring an undue burden.
What burden to the government was there in me saying, "please G-d."
And why did I get back a mocking message spelling it this way, "G+d," which I read as being a cross in the middle, mocking me as someone of Jewish belief.
Understand that I write the word G-d with a hyphen, because I was taught out of respect not to spell out ( or even say) G-d's name in vain, which is the 3rd commandment in the biblical Ten Commandments.
The executive's comments to me were not only extremely rude, offensive, and discriminatory, but also illegal.
It is outrageous that this type of behavior should be allowed to go on in 21st century America, let alone in the federal government itself that writes and enforces the law of the land--the land of the free and the home of the brave--read it, it's in our national anthem and our constitution. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)