Christian personal finance guru Dave Ramsey, a bestselling author and radio host, is known for his regular-guy delivery as he dispenses financial advice along with his disdain for debt. One of the highlights of “The Dave Ramsey Show” is a listener’s call featuring a “debt-free scream” to mark their liberation from consumer debt using Ramsey’s methods. His devoted audience might be grateful for Ramsey’s help in pulling themselves out of a bad situation, but now Ramsey is deliberately putting himself and all of his employees into one: Ramsey is planning to host a large in-person Christmas party for hundreds of staff members at his company’s Franklin, Tennessee, headquarters, despite an outbreak of more than 100 cases at the company’s headquarters as late as mid-November.
Ramsey Solutions does not require masks at its offices, and Ramsey himself has been a vocal opponent of mask-wearing and other COVID restrictions. In a clip from his daily radio show, posted on YouTube in November, Ramsey railed against what he called “totalitarian” government restrictions and mask mandates, saying he wanted to “start a crusade” against them. In staff meetings and on his radio show, Ramsey described masks and other COVID-19 prevention strategies as a sign of fear.
Since March, Ramsey Solutions has had about 100 cases of COVID-19 among its 800 employees. This didn’t stop them from moving ahead with their annual holiday celebration. Ramsey employees received an invitation to the “Boots & BBQ” party in a newsletter, advising that no children are allowed at the Christmas bash and that employees are limited to one guest apiece. No mention is made of masks being required.
Ramsey Solutions Executive Director of Human Resources, Armando Lopez, told staff in early November that remote working would not be allowed, despite acknowledging the rise in Coronavirus cases in the state and the county where Ramsey is located. The company allowed staff to work from home during the initial weeks of the pandemic but has required them to return to company headquarters since May. Lopez said Ramsey Solutions leadership had decided it was not “a work from home employer” after that model proved to be less effective for the company. The company has advised workers to social distance if possible and to stay home if they feel sick. In staff newsletters, the company has encouraged testing for COVID-19 but has also shared articles claiming the threat of COVID-19 has been exaggerated by the media.
Staffers have admitted to feeling hesitant about attending the party, worried about their jobs. At a staff meeting after Thanksgiving, Ramsey continued his criticism of those who are ruled by “fear” of COVID-19 and are “freaking out” due to the pandemic. By contrast, he said, the staff at Ramsey Solutions would spread Christmas cheer and joy during the holidays — as well as courage, which he said was “contagious”, an odd choice of words during a pandemic.
Tennessee is currently observing CDC Guidelines regarding indoor gatherings, which Ramsey would be violating if the party goes forward as planned. A complaint regarding the event has already been filed.
Breaking: non-mask compliance complaint filed about @DaveRamsey company Christmas party. Vendor says potential workers were told by Ramsey rep. that masks and gloves could not be worn as “not to scare those in attendance.” Full story on @wsmv at 5:00 pic.twitter.com/WQZSdM6qDR
— Jeremy Finley (@JFinleyreports) December 11, 2020