According to Pedro Diaz, workplace culture expert and founder of Australia's Workplace Mental Health Institute, the issue of workplace gift giving at Christmas time can be fraught with danger but it is still appropriate to give your boss a present provided you follow some key rules.
"Our workplaces have become so 'politically correct' that people are becoming scared to give gifts to others in the workplace, especially their boss, for fear of getting it wrong and being fired" Mr Diaz said.
"Even if you are not fired, you can find yourself being bullied by coworkers for being considered a brown noser for giving your boss a gift in front of other workers.
"I recently heard a story about a male worker who gave his female boss a bottle of perfume for Christmas and found himself responding to complaints of 'sexual harassment'.
"One of the other big issues, is that many workplaces are playing down christmas for fear of offending workers who are not Christian. Many people believe that celebrating christmas in the workplace goes against workplace diversity and inclusion.
"I am hearing of situations where workers are concerned about giving gifts because this may be seen as a form of harassment or discrimination.
"Every nation, every country has their culture, beliefs and traditions. As a multi-cultural nation, I encourage workplaces to embrace and celebrate Christmas, and any other festivities they believe reflect their organisational cultural make up. The important thing is to ensure workplaces have character. Without character and personality, workplaces are boring and awful places to work.
"Political correctness can go too far. We need to ensure it doesn't get to the point where people stop celebrating Christmas at work. This would be a tragedy."
Question: How does gift giving cause tension and issues in the office?
Pedro Diaz: The workplace can be described as an artificial environment. You come into prolonged contact with a collection of very diverse people. People not commonly of your chosing but chosen for you. Mostly because of the skill set they bring not because of their personalities. People that can be quite different from you. Have different points of view, different sense of humour and they don't have to like you. You don't have to like them either. Then you throw Christmas and gift giving into the mix. And in some workplaces Secret Santa. Some people don't even celebrate Christmas, so they may already feel on the outer. It's not that difficult to see how things could go wrong and, at times, do.
But even in the best of settings with the best of intentions there can still be the normal tension of 'what to get?' 'how much to spend without seeming frivolous?' 'will they like it?' 'do they even celebrate Christmas?' 'will my gift be seen in the light that I intend or will it be misunderstood?'
Question: Is this specifically when gifting to the boss or everyone?