12/23/2014 08:01 EST | Updated 02/22/2015 05:59 EST

Canadian Tire backs worker's wish to use 'Merry Christmas' greeting

A festive greeting has prompted a disagreement at a Sudbury, Ont. store.

A sales representative at a Canadian Tire in Sudbuy says he's upset because he's been encouraged by his managers to say happy holidays, instead of Merry Christmas.

But Johnathan Scott doesn't agree with his managers.

“It is sad to see that something as little as ‘Merry Christmas’ has sparked such an uproar through society,” he told CBC News.

“You know, everyone is scared to say Merry Christmas for offending one.”

Scott's store manager told CBC News that she has apologized to him and his family.

Michelle Novak said she was trying to be sensitive to people of all faiths, but noted Canadian Tire does not have a seasonal greeting policy.

That’s been confirmed by Canadian Tire’s associate vice president of corporate affairs, Jane Shaw, who made the following statement:

“Canadian Tire is Canada's Christmas store — and any of our employees wishing someone a Merry Christmas is certainly welcome and in keeping with the season's sentiment.  We have spoken to our store's dealer to determine the facts and can tell you with certainty that any suggestion that an employee was sent home or had their hours reduced for saying, 'Merry Christmas' is simply not true at all.”

Outside Canadian Tire, some customers told CBC News they prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ to ‘Happy Holidays.’

"Merry Christmas. Actually I prefer Merry Christmas,” one shopper said. “Merry Christmas."

But another said, I prefer ‘Happy Holidays’ because I'm not a religious person."

In the meantime, Scott said he accepts Novak's apology, and added he's more determined than ever to keep saying “Merry Christmas.”