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Woman Fired for Refusing to Say 'Happy Holidays'

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FOX News: A Florida woman says she was fired from her job for refusing to comply with a policy requiring employees to say "Happy Holidays" to callers -- but the company's president claims her story is "absolutely false."

Tonia Thomas says she was terminated two weeks ago from her job at Counts Oakes Resort Properties in Panama City after balking at the rule because it went against her religion. She is suing for lost wages, she said.

Thomas offered to use a generic greeting or say "Merry Christmas" to callers instead, but that offer was denied by company President Andy Phillips, according to the Liberty Counsel -- the Christian-based legal group representing her.

"She said, 'That goes against my religious beliefs; I'm participating in secularizing Christmas,'" Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mathew Staver told "She asked him for an accommodation ... and he refused."

Thomas, 35, said she doesn't like using the generic greetings at Christmastime and explained that to her former employer.

"I said I have a problem with saying 'Happy Holidays,'" Thomas told "The world ... groups Christmas with other holidays, and that's offensive to me as a Christian."

But Phillips says the entire incident has been twisted by both Thomas and the Liberty Counsel.

"I will go on the record as saying Miss Thomas was not terminated for not saying 'Merry Christmas,'" Phillips told "A lot of the information that's been disseminated is absolutely false. It's definitely a very distorted version of what actually happened."

Phillips declined to specify why Thomas was fired.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Crystal December 24, 2008, 11:35 AM

How can saying Happy Holidays be offensive? I’m Christain too, and Happy Holidays to me means Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year. To someone else maybe it means Happy Hanakah AND Happy New Year. She wants to purposely offend people who are not christian. And that’s not very christian-like.

Candes December 24, 2008, 11:47 AM

I’m a Christian too. I’m not offended but I do find VERY annoying to be PC about Christmas. I support stores that have the guts to say “Merry CHRISTmas” in this PC age.

If someone tells me “Happy Kwanza” so be it I’m not going to demand they greet me w/ happy Holidays because I don’t celebrate their holiday.

I don’t think she is purposefully wanting to offend. She’s tired of the PC.

Robyns Online World December 24, 2008, 11:51 AM

What a load of bull. Sounds like she is probably a pain in the neck to start with. Maybe she needs to take a closer look at the origins of xmas to start with.

Anonymous December 24, 2008, 12:26 PM

She’s just looking for easy money.

G December 24, 2008, 3:08 PM


AnthonyIac December 24, 2008, 5:36 PM

Although I’m not a religious person, and I am Catholic and I do celebrate Christmas. It really bothers me that for some reason this country has lately become so hyper-sensitive that we have to cater to those who don’t celebrate what others do. I really don’t care if someone else gives me a holiday greeting of their religion. I’m not offended. So welcome to the free world. You eat what we eat.

AnthonyIac December 24, 2008, 5:42 PM

Oh yeah, and by the way…Merry Christmas.

Jen December 29, 2008, 7:04 PM

To be honest, I’m Jewish and I’m sick and tired of always hearing Merry Christmas. It’s not the only holiday that comes around this time of year and it’s really annoying to have to listen to every one else talk about it. I don’t celebrate it and I don’t want to be wished one.

skyotter December 30, 2008, 5:09 PM

the solution is simple — all Ms. Thomas needs to do is produce her priest, minister, bishop, pope, witchdoctor, vodoun, witch, or whatever and have him/her aver that, yes, saying “happy holidays” is specifically forbidden by her religion’s teaching and dogma, and maybe show scriptural back-up for the claim

but something tells me this is her *personal* opinion, and not a teaching or belief of ANY actual religion. any takers for that bet?

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