Break the Chain Flagged Down

Exclusive (9/18/2001) Can you imagine, on a day of national mourning and remembrance, what you would do if your employer told you that you were not allowed to display your country's flag on your desk because it was against company policy? Maybe you'd do what these people did, run to the press so they could make a hasty and sensational report.


Sunday, September 16, 2001

Florida Company Bans Old Glory From Offices

In a shocking example of out-of-control political correctness, a Boca Raton, Florida company ordered managers to confiscate American flags from employees' desks, calling them "divisive" symbols that might offend someone's tender sensibilities.

At a time when Americans all across the nation were being asked to display Old Glory in honor of the thousands who died in New York and Washington Tuesday, this outrageous assault on the company's employees' patriotism was justified by a top official of NCCI Holdings, Inc. as a gesture of compassion for those employees who might be offended by the sight of a flag for which tens of thousands of Americans laid down their lives to defend in past wars.

The company which monitors workers compensation insurance data, told its 850 Boca Raton employees that displays of nationalism had no place in the office.

"Divisive statements or actions, political or religious discussions and anything else that could be divisive or mean different things to different people are not appropriate in our work environment," wrote Chief Executive Officer Bill Schrempf in a memo to employees, according to the Palm Beach Post.

"It just boggles my mind that here in America or anywhere in America, one would be restricted from displaying it," one employee wrote in an e-mail to Schrempf a copy of which was sent to The Palm Beach Post. "Too many people these days, including yourself, it seems, seem to forget what the flag symbolizes and that many men and women served to defend that flag. I think you should show a little more respect."

Incredibly, one employee told the Post she was suspended and told to go home Friday morning when she refused to remove a small flag from her desk. The company refused to confirm whether it had asked any employees to leave, the Post reported.

NCCI spokesman Michael Bullard told the Post the company has a long-standing policy of prohibiting employees from bringing political or religious symbols into the workplace.

Fewer than 10 flags were removed from cubicles, Bullard said. "It seems to me only a small number of people are upset about this," he said.

Perhaps readers would like to let NCCI know that far more than a few people are upset over this disgusting display of anti-American bigotry. Their address is 750 Park of Commerce Drive, Boca Raton, FL 33487 and their phone numbers are (561) 994-8572 and (561) 997-1000. You can e-mail them through their website:

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Though the story is basically true, this is neither a "disgusting display of anti-American bigotry" nor "a shocking example of out-of-control political correctness." What this report doesn't tell you is that NCCI's policy of banning displays of national logos, flags and other identifying symbols was a long-standing one. In many areas of Florida, nationality and patriotism are often hot-button topics because of the large number of immigrants and refugees the state sees. The policy was instituted to protect employees from violence or harassment directed at their nationality.

It is true that the company enforced this policy on September 14, 2001, but unconfirmed that they took action against some employees who violated it. What this chain letter doesn't tell you is how, as a result of public outcry, NCCI reversed its decision and rescinded the policy the next day. In a press release NCCI explains that President & CEO Bill Schrempf apologized to employees and from this point forward, all employees are permitted to display American flags as a show of support and unity. They erred on the side of caution, have corrected their error and have apologized for the slip. Don't waste your time or anger on them. Break this Chain!

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