Thursday, December 10, 2015

Everything's a Violation!

I got my hands on an employee handbook today, and I spent this afternoon reading over parts of it. Y'know, because I'm all boring like that.
But it's actually really interesting. For instance, an employee of this company could be fired for communicating in any way with his/her coworkers or for making slightly-off-color jokes in a private message on Facebook or Twitter.

I'll start with the first one, because it's a bit juicier.

There is a section in the employee guidelines about their "no solicitation policy." It's written so vaguely that a person could be fired for simply asking a coworker to do literally anything. Generally, making requests of coworkers is a necessary part of working with other people. However:

"6.14 II(b)(1): Employees of [redacted] are prohibited from soliciting other employees ... for any cause or on behalf of any organization in [work areas] at any time.
Employees of [redacted] are also prohibited from soliciting other employees ... during the work time of the employees involved."

Where "solicitation" is defined as: "solicitation in any form, including any verbal or physical act that attempts to persuade or induce individuals to act or respond in any manner."

So, to pull that all together, employees cannot verbally attempt to persuade or induce other employees to act or respond in any manner during the work time of the employees involved. Such as... asking them to help with lifting something heavy.

After all, when you ask someone to help you lift a heavy box, you are attempting to persuade them to act in a manner that will move the box.

Oh, the punishment for violating this section? "An employee who violates the Policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including immediate discharge."

The second interesting part is found under the next section, Social Media Guidelines.

Stated in many more words in the "Purpose" paragraph, they note that these guidelines apply even if the social media usage is personal and occurs at your house, totally disconnected from anything having to do with the company.

"The fact that an employee intends a posting to be private does not remove it from the rules, requirements and restrictions set forth in this or any other [redacted] policy.
When engaging in personal social networking, employees should include a disclaimer to the following effect, wherever possible: 'The views expressed in this posting or other communication are not necessarily or do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.'"

I'd call that second paragraph The Fucking Obvious Clause.

"a. Equal Employment Opportunity (which includes our anti-harassment policy)
In particular, any social media postings or other messages which disparage, stereotype or denigrate any protected group (e.g., race, sex or religion) violate this as well as our anti-harassment policy if they are about [redacted] employees or others with whom [redacted] does business or they become known by [redacted] employees or others whom [redacted] does business."
(emphasis added)

So, you make a joke "privately" (nothing's really private on the internet) to a friend using Facebook's chat function or whatever. The joke is something along the lines of "women need to shut up and go make me a sandwich." If this friend works at this employer as well, you've just violated company policy. If this friend screenshots your joke and shares it and an employee or someone who does business with the company sees it, you've violated the policy. Violation of this policy, like the last one, can result in termination of employment.

Also interesting is their "Guidelines for all Postings (Professional or Personal)" which includes this comment:

"The way that you answer an online question might be accurate in some parts of the world, but inaccurate, or even illegal, in others. Keep a global mindset when participating in online conversations."

Um, guys. As I inexplicably said in my sleep one night, This is America. If an "answer to an online question" is legally okie-dokie here, it does not matter one wink if it's illegal in another country. We got this whole freedom of speech thing going on here. Other countries don't have that, but fuck 'em. You don't live there, you live here.

Basically, anyone who works for this company can (and probably will) violate their company policies every single day, whether they're at work or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment