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Valentine's Day in the office

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Question: My boss (who isn’t the warmest guy) feels compelled to give me a box of chocolates each year on Valentine’s Day ... even though it clearly makes us both uncomfortable.

Even worse, some customers and clients send inappropriate gifts to my female colleagues.

For those reasons, I think Valentine’s Day should not be celebrated in the office. Do you agree?  -- M.G., Scranton, Pa.


I do agree - that is very inappropriate and you should discuss it with an HR rep that you feel comfortable. Perhaps he or she could make a general announcement?

Or you could just stop it quickly by telling your boss outright that you aren't comfortable accepting gifts.

Lighten up! There seems to be such a huge trend these days to force people into "appropriate" behavior, which I find disturbing. Soon we'll have elaborate HR rules on people being nice to each other on holidays! Valentine's Day is celebrated in many relationships (between friends, co-workers, family, etc., not just "lovers"). Why does getting chocolates make you uncomfortable? As to inappropriate gifts to females, if they're sexually explicit, then the receipients should certainly bring it up with HR.

If you are offended by the chocolates then tell your boss so, and that you don't believe in celebrating valentine's day in the office. However, this could have a ripple effect on other holidays as well. Personally, I think this world is TOO obsessed with political correctness. Pretty soon kids won't celebrate it in school either. How truly sad that we can't enjoy life nowadays without feeling like we are offending someone, even in an act of kindness!

Perhaps you should consider looking for another job, if you and your boss have a relationship where simple chocolate is uncomfortable. What are we missing here? As for inappropriate gifts, if these are of a sexual nature, those individuals who receive them and are uncomfortable with them, should see HR. There is no room for sexual harassment in the workplace period, holiday or not.

I don't think Valentine's Day should be left out of the workplace, but it is up to you to speak up if your boundaries are being crossed--it might just be a misunderstanding. Personally, I enjoy exchanging respectful compliments and gifts. If you don't, then you have every right to address it, but don't hold someone accountable for what they don't know.

It may be uncomfortable for you - or even
inappropriate to you - but it's not that way for all people in an office - let's not go down the "do gooder path" and begin restricting others for things you feel are wrong.
Each circumstance is different and so is this - if you don't like it - you need to stop it from happening to you, but don't stop it for everyone else. They may not feel as you do.

If you feel uncomfortable accepting Valentine's Day gifts from your boss you should speak to him about it. Its more professional and more effective to discuss this rather conclude that celebrating this in the office is a bad idea. Others in your office obviously enjoy this. If other female employees are receiving inappropriate gifts then this should be addressed. Perhaps you have a meeting with your boss and address the inappropriate gifts and help to establish guidelines. You should remind management that inappropriate gifts sent or received could jeporadize your company's professional image.

I think it's sweet that your boss tries to reach out, maybe a bit grudgingly, to wish you a happy Valentine's Day.

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