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Hi everyone! I received the following on a bulletin on Myspace this morning and thought I would share it here:

Hello, My name is Ashley. I work at Hot Topic, store number 286, in Glen Burnie, Maryland. I am writing today to ask for your support in having Hot Topic's policies changed around, especially the one that is currently allowing me, a practicing Pagan, to be singled out.

Hot Topic does not tolerate pentagrams, calling them Satanic. I have been forbidden to wear mine during work hours, having been told Witchcraft is not a religion that Hot Topic recognizes. A manager has decided that she cannot work with me, due to my religious choices, and now is attempting to have me fired.

I have been "written up" and sat down twice, once by her and once by the store manager, because of a conversation involving three other people about drugs, WHILE THE STORE WAS CLOSED, and because I answered the manager's questions about another associate's missed time. No one else was punished for the drug conversation. I work in a store full of practicioners of other beliefs. The manager trying to get me fired is always covered in Christian jewelry and keychains. I am denied any of my own religious wear.

I wrote to the A.C.L.U. last night, and am currently awaiting a response.

During this time, I am asking that everyone repost. I am not the only Pagan being punished. Every time someone wearing a pentagram walks in, the manager trying to get me fired talks badly about them when they leave.

My mother comes in in her jewelry, and I have to wonder, what is said then?

Together, as a community, we can make a difference. Pagans make up 80% of our sales, and if we stop shopping there, they will have to make a change. I am already petitioning to have this change brought about, by calling the A.C.L.U..

Pass this around. Religious persecution was supposed to have died with the witch trials.

Don't let this store, the only place these kids have to go, continue to push us away!

Ashley ( )
Employee at Hot Topic store number 286,
Marley Station Mall
Glen Burnie, Maryland

I'm currently waitng for a response from this individual and may try to organize a protest at as many Hot Topic stores as possible.

Your comments on this matter are welcome! Please feel free to repost on your Myspace page or any other sites you belong to!

Thanks and BB )O(

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Because bulletins on myspace are always pure and correct.
Well dang, im amazed they let me in the door to buy my hubbys xmas gift!! Ya know since thier so anti-witch and stuff! Is there still a boycott on bath and body for discriminating against witches too?? If there are many more boycotts our mall could go out of business, hell it is barely open now. They replaced the spencers with the hot topic, guess they thought it was more hardcore! LOL

Consider it done
I am all for supporting this cause...I recently lost my job because the owner of our store didn't like me for several reasons one of them the fact that I am Wiccan... I let the general manager know I was going to the labor board and he told me the owner would force him to fire me..the day after a conversation involving Wicca was had in the unit I was terminated...I filed with the labor board and was notified yesterday that it was ok for the owner to treat me however he chose to and there were no grounds for my complaint...
you have my support as well. bb shannon
I'm in. My daughters and I shopped there (key word shopped). Not any more!
I'm with you, Bright Blessings
hot topic HAS TO reconize wicca as a religion it is reconized by the u.s. government
LOL - THIS FROM A RETAIL STORE THAT MAKES IT'S MONEY SELLING CD's LIKE THIS???? OMG are they bad! Wicca is recognized by the Armed Forces - hope she can sue the crap out of 'em.

No shit!! Sue them, odd though,seems very Pagan Friendly to me...
As a former employee of Hot Topic, I want to caution that this may be more a case of a biased manager taking advantage of vague company policy than the actual company itself being anti-pagan in any sense.

To quote from the Employee Handbook (circa 2005):

"In keeping with the Hot Topic merchandising philosophy, the following items are inappropriate: ...Any item that could be associated with satanic worship, including inverted crosses, pentagrams, etc." (Page 11)
This much is true, though bizarre considering some of the items they sell. However, I will note that my store never seemed to have a problem with pentacles (with the star pointing upward) or other Wiccan/Occult jewelry. Which is why I feel this may be a case of bigoted managers taking advantage of the employee handbook's wording. This section of the book deals with hygiene and image and also prohibits anything with the words slut or pimp and anything drug or alcohol related, etc. All in all, I believe the goal is to keep the employee dress-code inoffensive to customers while promoting a clean-cut image. So if you have a Slayer t-shirt with a pentagram on it that would be a no-no, but I would hope that management has enough sense to differentiate between that and religious jewelry (even if the star's pointing downward).

According to their policy on discrimination: "Hot Topic makes employment decisions based on the most qualified candidate, regardless of race, sex, age, national origin, disability, religion, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Unlawful discrimination is contrary to Hot Topic's values...
...If you believe you've been subjected to any form of unlawful discrimination, please contact your manager or Employee Relations immediately..." (Page 6)

Since obviously the managers are the problem, Ashley's absolute first step should have been to contact Employee Relations. There is usually a HUGE poster on the door in the stockroom with this number. By going straight to the ACLU as her first step, she is skipping steps in the chain of proper protocol and inviting the drama llama. If a teacher was harassing you at school, would you alert the principal first or go straight to the 6 O'clock news?

Every time someone wearing a pentagram walks in, the manager trying to get me fired talks badly about them when they leave. This right here says to me that this is absolutely a problem that the higher ups need to hear about. This manager is setting a HORRIBLE example of conduct for her employees.

having been told Witchcraft is not a religion that Hot Topic recognizes I want to call bullshit on this. I think this manager is a whackjob. I have never experienced anything there that would lead me to believe this is true. In fact, the employee handbook pretty much debunks it as it promises protection of all religions (if it's federally recognized, then it is absolutely protected). I don't know what Ashley's religion is, but if we assume she's Wiccan then she's covered since that is a federally recognized religion.

It is of my personal opinion that you either allow ALL religious symbols or NO religious symbols to be worn by employees during store hours.

As for the drug conversation? I think most managers would have let that slide, but I notice that it only mentioned that the store was closed and not that she was off the clock. As long as you are still clocked in, you are expected to uphold company policy and exercise proper behavior. Having a conversation about drugs does not sound like proper conduct to me. Obviously I can't speak for the company, but I can't really defend Ashley on this one even if she was the only person to get punished.
Thank you. :)

As a former group leader, that's a huge pet peeve of mine. Not going through the chain of command makes you look like an immature, attention-seeker or, at the very least, alarmist (In World of Warcraft we call this "Guild Drama" ;P). Not only that, but it usually prevents positive change from being made while you're still a part of the group.


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