After automatically saying “Happy New Year” to everyone he had spoken to for the first time since 31st December, office worker Jon Knowles thought nothing of greeting his first caller of the day with the same cheery sentiments only to hear a shocked gasp from his colleagues.
‘I could sense that something was up immediately,’ said Jon, ‘and when I finished the call, someone explained that the Company had a New Year Greetings Policy in which the cut-off point is set at twelve days. Since I only joined them in August, I didn’t know this, but it didn’t seem to be a big deal.’
But things took a turn for the worse when Jon had a call from the 5th Floor. ‘You always get a slight feeling of dread when HR ask ‘if you could spare them a minute’,’ he reflected, ‘but to be told that my actions had contravened company regulations and I was facing disciplinary procedures was a total shock. I had no idea what I was supposed to have done wrong. All possibilities came to mind but I didn’t think that going over the free coffee allowance and consequently breaking the comfort break quota would lead to a suspension.’
In a statement for Taylor & Digby, HR Coordinator, Debbie Cooper said. ‘Whilst we are unable to comment on individual cases, our policy was introduced with a good deal of careful consideration to defuse the perennially contentious issue of how long into January it is reasonable to wish people a Happy New Year. Every employee is made aware of this upon joining the Company as it very clearly states in Section IV, Paragraph 15, 6(ix) of the Employment Conditions that New Year’s greetings are permissible only for the first twelve days of the year. This is just below our Whistleblowing Policy which bought the matter to our attention in the first place.’
Meanwhile Mr Knowles, facing a bleak New Year with the prospect of unemployment if the Company appeal procedure fails to reinstate him, is still wondering who got him into this dilemma. ‘I not certain who reported me,’ he said, ‘but I have suspicions that office smug, Jackie Goddard, may have had something to do with it. She nearly got me into trouble once for putting a bottle with a non-recyclable cap into the green bin.’