On Wednesday, the EEOC filed an action against United Health Programs of America Inc. and Cost Containment Group, Inc. alleging that the companies infringed the civil rights of its employees by forcing them to be Onionheads. Did you even know that was a thing? It’s like Christianity, if the Bible were written in Comic Sans.
Well, apparently it is, and among the Onionhead religious practices that the EEOC describes are forcing employees “to thank God for their employment” and to tell their bosses “I love you.” This sounds like a typical day in Biglaw. Indeed, a typical Saturday night in Biglaw.
But wait, there’s more to this religion….
Until yesterday, I thought Onionheads were fans of The Onion. It turns out Onionheads are a religion whose beliefs sound like something from The Onion. The Harnessing Happiness Foundation, promotes a “belief system” commonly known as “Onionhead.” You’d think that was a derogatory term, like calling members of the Unification Church “Moonies,” but it’s not. No, the Harnessing Happiness Foundation does not shirk from the association. From their aforementioned Comic Sans website, it seems the whole religion revolves around talking about your f**king feelings in terms of dichotomous onion cartoons — “insensitivity is a negative emotion, understanding is a positive emotion.”
If the EEOC is right, the adherents at United Health and Cost Containment might need to reread that chapter.
Because three women claim they were required to participate in the Onionhead rituals at work, and were ultimately terminated when they refused to participate:
The rituals of Onionhead require participants to burn candles at work, discuss personal matters with colleagues and keep lights dim in the office.
One of the women says she was fired for refusing to participate in a “spiritual activity,” and that she was moved from her office to a customer service floor to answer phones. A Buddha statue was then placed in her empty office, she says.
Another plaintiff says she called in after becoming pregnant and was fired after she was moved to a customer service floor when she refused to participate in Onionhead prayers.
The third plaintiff says she was fired for refusing to participate in prayer meetings during a work-related trip to a spa in Connecticut.
The website also offers books telling you how to deal with cancer and potentially cure Alzheimer’s — with positive feelings. Nothing on the site betrays the “I love you, boss” stuff, but the Testament of Ayn Rand might only be available to the initiated. Whatever is going on, the EEOC complaint isn’t legal.
Honestly, the website doesn’t feel like a religion — it feels like a dopey self-help book. Makes you wonder if the events described by the EEOC don’t reflect Onionhead as much as a rogue group of adherents who desperately wanted to transform these cartoons into something much more than they really are. The real question is how Onionhead manages to create such fervor in grown ass adults. I mean, cartoon onions don’t carry the inherent maturity of, say, an “e-meter” or “drinking the blood of a zombie Jew.”