FOR RELEASE DECEMBER 17, 2013
DALLAS – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit today against the Keller family and Santa Claus alleging they violated federal civil rights laws by permitting a hostile work environment filled with health and safety violations for Jerry Jingle, a student intern with Claus’s Elf on the Shelf ® program.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently concluded its own investigation on the health and safety claims and levied a $1.2 million fine against the Kellers for violations. Their investigation of Claus is pending because heavily-armed penguins and snowman snipers have refused to allow OSHA to enter to Claus’s North Pole headquarters.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Claus promoted the program as “fun and playful off-site training” required for all elf underclassmen; however, the EEOC’s investigation indicated that the program was based on systematic and institutionalized humiliation directed toward Jingle and other interns. Claus’s training guide listed demeaning and unsafe elf activities such as making Christmas cookies, canoodling with Barbie dolls or other action figures, hiding in highly flammable Christmas trees, fishing in aquariums, and operating leaf blowers and snow plows.
Claus began the program in 2005, and more than 375,000 elves have participated in the training.
Jingle was assigned to the Keller children and was to report their behavior to Claus prior to the finalization of Christmas Eve sleigh packing. He arrived at the family’s home on Thanksgiving Day and began his elf activities that evening. That’s when things started to go horribly wrong. Jerry became trapped upside down in a cookie jar for more than 12 hours. The Keller children humiliated him by laughing at his buttocks and legs as they hung outside the jar. He developed a dangerous case of strep throat after using the Keller’s son toothbrush. He also attempted to read a book to One Direction dolls, but the singers hog-tied him.
The most horrifying incident Jingle experienced involved an encounter with Charlotte, the family’s dog. While scaling a kitchen cabinet, he slipped and fell to the floor. Charlotte, a nine pound Coton with razor-sharp teeth, assaulted him on the floor. “She ripped me a new one,” he tearfully explained.
The Kellers claim Jingle’s injuries were minimal, and Kim Keller says she personally restuffed and restitched his elf booty after the attack. Claus apologized to Jingle and sent him antibiotics and Valium so he could continue in the program. However, it wasn’t enough for this once jolly little elf. He left the Keller’s home, sent his resignation letter to Claus, and made his way to the EEOC office in Dallas. The office, fearing retaliation from both Claus and the Kellers, arranged for Jingle to be placed into protective custody with the FBI.
“What happened to me should not happen to any other elf,” he said during this morning’s press conference. “Both Claus and the Kellers showed little regard for me as a magical creature with real feelings and real dreams. I will forever have emotional and physical scars because of this experience. Claus has done this to far too many naive elves, and it has to stop. Hopefully, this will send him a message.”
Bartimus Louse, the EEOC regional attorney in Dallas said, “It appears from our investigation — and we intend to prove it in court — that Claus and the Kellers not only knew about the degradation faced by Jingle, but they encouraged it and refused to take the steps necessary to ensure Jingle’s emotional and physical well-being. Employers who fail to take reasonable, simple measures to protect victims from hostile work environments do so at their peril.”
Claus is facing additional legal peril from the American Humanist Association (AHA). CNN reported the group is filing suit against Jingle’s former employer because the man in red is based on the Christian stories of St. Nicholas and the three kings. “It’s all religious propaganda that brainwashes Americans into thinking about other people,” said Martin Erronea, AHA’s spokesperson. The organization is also after the EEOC for government endorsement of religion. “Claus is clearly a religious figure,” explained Erronea. “Everyone knows religious stuff has no place in American institutions, especially our court rooms. It’s a clear violation of the separation of church and state.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is getting involved as well. According to MSNBC, their lawyers are preparing an animal companion defamation lawsuit against Jingle. “Charlotte Keller is a companion with her own thoughts, desires and needs, and she is entitled to the same rights as any other being – human or animal,” explained attorney Shirley Furr Finley. “This includes protection of her good name. Mr. Jingle has defamed her good character by portraying her as a predator.”
Roadkill Goldfish will provide updates on this developing story.