Atheist Christopher Nolan got fired from a Wal-Mart in Maine because he didn’t want to dress up as Santa (and presumably take part in perpetuating that myth).
But the news reports make an interesting statement, and I’m not sure if it’s the fault of the reporters or Nolan himself. Since multiple reports say the same thing, I’m thinking it was Nolan:
Christopher Nolan, 27, claimed he was asked to dress as Santa last month at the Sanford Wal-Mart but would not, saying he was an atheist and didn’t believe in Christmas.
You don’t “believe in Christmas”?
Umm… hate to break it to you, but Christmas exists. Whether you celebrate it or not is a different story.
Anyway, he has since filed for discrimination with the Maine Human Rights Commission.
A more thorough report says this:
In his complaint, Nolan said he thought it was a joke when he was asked on Dec. 8 to fill in as the store Santa Claus at the Wal-Mart on Main Street. He said his co-workers were laughing.
Nolan, who described himself as an atheist who does not believe in Christmas, said he laughed as well and then declined. “I said, ‘Uh, no way,'” he said in an interview last month.
Nolan said he was surprised when his supervisor called him later to say he had an hour to change his mind. When Nolan again refused to don the Santa suit, he said, his boss brought him into his office and told him he was fired.
“He said, ‘We have to do an exit interview,'” said Nolan, who said he worked at the store for three years, most recently as a bicycle assembler.
That exit interview included these comments from the supervisor:
“Asked Chris several times to dress up as Santa Claus. Repeatly (sic) told me no and then said he would look for another job. Didn’t listen to me at all. Told him I would take him out of the system.”
I doubt they would have forced a Jew or Muslim to dress up as Santa…
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart won’t comment on the case, but added that the “facts as they’re described are not true.”
It also looks like Nolan has a lot of bureaucracy to go through:
The commission will assign an investigator to look into Nolan’s allegation. The investigator will then issue a report for the full commission, which will then vote whether there are reasonable grounds to conclude that Nolan was discriminated against. It can take up to two years for the commission to decide whether Nolan’s rights were violated.
After six months Nolan could also ask the commission for a “right-to-sue letter,” allowing him to take his case to a Maine superior court. At that point the commission would stop its investigation.
[tags]atheist, atheism, Santa[/tags]