Metro hospital drops holiday decoration policy after employees complain

ATLANTA — The Northeast Georgia Health System has pressed pause on a policy restricting holiday decorations after a backlash from employees.

Hospital officials announced the policy last week, and employee feedback came swiftly.

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“Either asking for clarification, having a question about the policy, or expressing that it really kind of soured their holiday spirit,” said Sean Couch, the director of communications for NGHS.

The policy restricted decorations to hospital-approved kits, each including a tree, ornaments, and a wreath.

“The intent of the holiday decoration policy here at Northeast Georgia Health System was to create a consistent and professional appearance with holiday decorations across all of our locations,” Couch said.

The policy came after some employees asked about the rules regarding holiday decorations. In its more than 70-year history, Couch said the hospital never had a policy, so officials decided to create one.

“It means a lot to some of our employees to be able to decorate for their patients and their families, and they’ve gotten good positive feedback over the years about it,” Couch said.


Channel 2′s Bryan Mims spoke with several employees outside the hospital on Monday. None wanted to appear on camera or give their names, but one employee said she was disappointed with the policy.

“The policy came out quickly, and we were all taken by surprise,” she said. “Nobody asked any of the employees. A lot of people spoke up,” said the employee.

Another employee felt it wasn’t fair.

“It wasn’t being fair to those who wanted to bring joy to people regardless of religious belief,” they said.

Couch said the policy is on hold for this year, and the health system will create employee engagement councils to solicit feedback from employees.

“Everyone agreed we would just put a pause on that policy this holiday season, let it roll on as it always has, and then next year get several groups of employees together to talk about the policy, the intent of the policy, and figure out the best path forward,” said Couch.

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