MORE than 70 per cent of bosses in Bolton are planning to ban Christmas decorations in their workplace for fear of offending other faiths.

A survey of 428 employers from various sectors across the town were polled by Peninsula BusinessWise, a Manchester-based employment law firm.

The survey revealed that 77 per cent of employers said they were banning decorations because they were worried about offending other faiths, while 84 per cent admitted they were not aware of a legal requirement to celebrate all faiths.

Nearly half of the bosses polled said that decorations make the workplace look "unprofessional", and almost 40 per cent said they believed decorations have a negative impact on productivity.

A spokesman for Travel Counsellors, which has 120 staff in its Churchgate head office, said: "We certainly get into the spirit of things, and all the decorations go up in December.

"It looks very festive and staff enjoy getting involved."

Kevin Hughes, senior partner at Yorkshire Bank's business centre in Princess Street, Bolton, said: "We certainly do put up decorations in the office and the customer areas.

"It looks nicer for us, and if we didn't I know that customers who visited the building would comment about it not looking festive."

Simon Wallace, specialist consultant at Peninsula BusinessWise, said that he understood employers' concerns but blanket bans were not necessarily the answer.

He added: "The workplace is now the latest in an increasing number of places affected by the wave of political correctness being imposed on festive traditions.

"Bosses are now taking similar action to ease fears of offending other faiths and excluding minorities.

"Some employers even believe that such festivities have a negative impact on the productivity of their staff.

"Employees are bemoaning the lack of representation of their own faiths and believe that they are being excluded in the workplace by Christmas festivities.

"Therefore, to avoid any difficulties and possible litigation, many employers have banned decorations such as Christmas trees and tinsel from the workplace.

"But every employee has the right to celebrate their faith's festival, including Christmas, in the workplace if they want to. And if an employer is unaware or refuses to acknowledge this, they may well be liable to litigation."

Last year, JobCentre staff in Farnwoth and Bolton were told by Land Securities Trillium, the management company responsible for its buildings, that decorations could not be fixed to the ceiling.

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