Recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. In The Workplace

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP
March 15 2017

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day is a Best Place to Work practice and an opportunity to engage your employees, educate the workforce, influence your business community, and still keep the company productive with the doors open for business.

When InfoMart opened our doors, MLK Day was new to employers. Businesses weren’t sure whether to stay open, like President’s Day, or to close, like the 4th of July. InfoMart decided to close for the holiday. Federal offices, which we relied on for information, were closed; however, many businesses stayed open, including our competition and clients.

Some years later at the request of clients to be operational and after polling our employees, we, along with many other organizations, changed our policy to recognize MLK Day as a floating holiday.

MLK Day is still a floating holiday at InfoMart; if you wish, you don’t have to come to work. If you do come to work, you can be dispatched to do a day of volunteer service.

Small businesses may lack the resources to observe MLK Day in a grand or public way; however, there are a many activities that your small business can do that will raise morale, educate your workforce on diversity, and establish your organization as a Best Place to Work.

In-house Activities

Send company wide trivia emails and offer a gift card for the person with the most correct answers. These answers can educate the workforce on Dr. King’s legacy. InfoMart also displays trivia on the monitors throughout our building, replacing our typical operating number alerts with valuable information. Past internal celebrations have also included having a catered lunch and bringing in a special speaker.  

MLK Day of Service

Since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed in the late 1980’s, the way businesses choose to recognize the holiday has transformed. Many organizations now encourage a day of volunteering in honor of Dr. King.

Through our I’M Giving committee, InfoMart arranges several volunteer activities, from arts and crafts with the kids at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to stocking the pantries for local nonprofits. People who do decide to volunteer are given a company branded shirt. In addition to a day of service in the community, it is team building and raises the camaraderie between your employees. InfoMart also invites our customers to participate with us, affording us the opportunity to re-affirm relationships with our clients outside of work context.

Field Trip

One of my favorite InfoMart MLK Day celebrations involved chartering buses to take the entire company to The King Center in Atlanta. We invited the local leadership of the NAACP and other community leaders to come with us. Together, we spent the day touring the center and had lunch at renowned Atlanta landmark Paschal’s. While we were there, an employee of over 50 years shared with us stories of the restaurant’s role as a meeting place for leaders in the struggle for civil rights.

If there is not a special spot in your city for your company to celebrate, consider joining your city’s celebration. Some cities have parades and rallies any company can attend. Whatever you decide, be sure to take pictures and share on social media, so that everyone sees your commitment to making this a special day.

MLK Day is not about being elaborate. It is a time to get your entire workforce engaged in education and the celebration of diversity and civil rights.

How does your company recognize MLK Day?

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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