Case Study of the Week: Diversity in Holidays

May 15, 2023

Business Ethics

You are the director of human resources at Healthy Smiles, a regional chain of dentistry clinics with 40 locations. Each Healthy Smiles location has two dentists, four dental hygienists, two receptionists and one office manager. Healthy Smiles is hoping to open four more locations by summer 2023.

Since all Healthy Smiles locations are in the United States, the employee handbook allows all employees paid federal holidays. Currently there are 11 federal holidays. Healthy Smiles is closed on all federal holidays or the observed holiday if the actual holiday falls on a weekend. There is only one federal holiday that is religious in nature and that is Christmas Day, December 25th. While the holiday itself is a religious holiday, many people around the globe, whether Christian or not, celebrate Christmas.

Healthy Smiles is proud of its diverse staff. Employees range in age from 21 – 67 years old, have various levels of education, are from various parts of the world and practice different religions and customs. Healthy Smiles prides itself on being an equal opportunity employer and celebrating the diversity of staff and patients.

The president of Healthy Smiles met with you to discuss an important employee relations issue. Several employees from various Healthy Smiles locations have requested that human resources recognize that there are other religious holidays besides Christmas that employees would like to have off but must take a vacation day rather than it being an official Healthy Smiles paid holiday. The employees feel that Healthy Smiles is not being inclusive of all religions.

The president is unsure how to respond and wants your team to analyze the situation. The president understands the current paid holiday list is legal but is unsure if it is unethical to force employees that are not Christians to use their own vacation time to observe their religious holidays.

The president wants Healthy Smiles to be ethical and has asked you to determine how to best serve all employees. You must also determine how to best communicate your solution to all Healthy Smiles employees.


  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day


Randi Bibiano
Competitive Events Specialist

Randi Bibiano is DECA's competitive events specialist. In this role, she conceptualizes and authors role-play scenarios for the collegiate and high school division’s competitive events programs. She also manages DECA's online competitive events and serves as a liaison to volunteer efforts at DECA's educational conferences.

Discussion Questions

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Classroom Connection

Career CLuster:

Business Management and Administration

Instructional Area(s):

Human Resources Management

Performance Indicators:

Explain the role of ethics in human resources management
Discuss issues associated with workplace diversity
Foster "right" environment for employees
Exhibit cultural sensitivity