On the Reddit community Antiwork, a recent trend of posts has emerged as the holidays draw closer. It seems that, despite the pay disparity between employees and their employers, many managers ask their workers to contribute cash towards a gift for the CEO.
In the case of one employee, who posted about this workplace conundrum earlier this week, it seems the 'optional' gift may have been more compulsory than he realized.
Two days ago, they wrote: 'Today we were asked to contribute money to a gift for the CEO.'
Today my manager reached out to the entire team (10 people) asking to contribute money to a gift card for our CEO. The gift card was for one of his “favorite” restaurants which is a steakhouse in the city, which is quite spendy, and which the majority of the staff can not afford to eat at.
Either we can send $20 to my manager (he’s the 2nd most senior person at the company) or our name will not be included on the card that goes with the gift.
I was honestly shocked that this was asked of us. Last year none of us received a Christmas bonus, and were given 2 pieces of company merch and an AirTag as a company gift. This gift was not even picked out for us by the CEO.
This year, I am on the Christmas planning committee and we were asked to pick out our own gifts (so once again, not by the CEO). In the last year I have seen or talked to the CEO maybe 3 times and in person maybe 1 time.
In the last year, we have also been in the midst of a move and been working out of boxes since last October. The office is still in boxes and a mess even now that we have FINALLY gotten into the new office. No action has been taken by senior management to get TVs and art hung, furniture bought, shelves mounted, literally ANYTHING done.
Every week for the last year, I have mentioned this in my 1on1 with my manager and no action has been taken. We are understaffed and overworked and honestly underpaid for the area we live.
Not a single one of us in the office would be able to afford a 1-bedroom apartment in the city we are in!
Giving the money for the CEO gift is “optional” but the idea we were even ASKED AT ALL?!?! I’m at complete disbelief and I am sad many of my coworkers feel as though they need to give money to make sure their name is on the card. Just how do they think this is okay in the slightest to ask? Feels dystopian.
In response to that first post, comments ranged in support of the OP, with one suggesting 'a very nice Hallmark card from Dollar Tree' would make a great alternative.
Just yesterday, they posted an update. 'I just got fired.'
Yesterday I made a post about how we were asked to give money to the CEO for a Christmas gift. Today I got fired.
I have had only positive feedback from my employer and even got positive feedback in the meeting for resignation. I just finished redesigning our entire website, and today at 4:30 pm they called me up and fired me.
They said it's because I “didn’t seem happy here” and because I “wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with the company.” I am completely shocked and in utter disbelief.
My 1on1 with my manager this week was also only positive feedback with how I was doing on the website. I got a promotion and a raise at my annual review in May, and was even training other employees this past week.
It’s hard to feel like this is not because of my refusal to “chip in” to this gift.
To me it seems super convenient that it’s year end, you just finished your big project and now that you’ve trained others they don’t need expensive you anymore. The not chipping in may or may not have had anything to do with it. You may never know the answer but get that unemployment $$$ and do a free consult with a lawyer in your state.
Talk to a labour lawyer. You might be able to make a case for extortion or retaliation.
'Give us money or you're fired.'
I think you should look into getting a lawyer. This sounds like extortion to me. Might be able to sue them for a nice payday.
It sounds like they had you train your replacements...
You don’t want to work for life-ruiners. Firing someone right before Christmas for any trite reason exposes a heartless, soulless org. Sorry this happened, and all the best to you.
After OP explained that he had refused to chip in for the gift via a public group chat, the wise DJ-Smash offered a 'life tip:'
Just ignore stupid stuff like that. 'You’re not obligated to chip in. If somebody presses you about it, respond with 'I’ll look into it' or something vague. More than likely, if you don’t chip in and keep your mouth shut, nobody is going to bother you about it.'