What should you do if your boss tries to force you to do volunteer work in the community?Your boss do volunteer work with an after-school program for disadvantaged children in a nearby urban...

What should you do if your boss tries to force you to do volunteer work in the community?

Your boss do volunteer work with an after-school program for disadvantaged children in a nearby urban neighborhood and asked his subordinates to do the same thing or helped out, even its not your job. So what would you do?



Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous posts offer great advice. No boss can legally force you to do volunteer work, but if it is on company time, you should consider following through with the request unless you are somehow opposed to the specific charity designated. If your boss requires you to volunteer at a specific place on your own time, you may want to explain that your free time is limited and you have more important functions (children, school work, etc.) that come first. Of course, as several posts pointed out, your boss can then make life very difficult for you if he/she so desires. If volunteer work seems to be a necessity with your boss, you may want to find something that will make you happy and satisfy him at the same time. Last year I volunteered to be the PA announcer for a local high school softball team: I would have attended the games anyway, and it still qualified as volunteer work.

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This reminds me of what has happened at our school this year. Any meetings that go over our contractual time used to be paid, but now they are not. The union tried to argue this with the district office, but the attorneys told the union to back down on this because meetings are "reasonable requests" under our contracts.  Thirty minutes extra existing in a meeting must not be too unreasonable to ask of an employee. Ask around to see if the boss is using this logic to ask you to do volunteer work.  Maybe there's something in their policies that cover a certain amount of volunteer time. If there's no policy or legal lingo that covers it, then seek out a union representative for more clarification before acting on anything.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the posts above stating that the boss's expectation in this case is not warranted and is inappropriate from a legal standpoint. I'd go one step further and say that this expectation is inappropriate in a larger, more absolute sense as well and constitutes an abuse of power, albeit a relatively small one. 

Asking you to work without any compensation whatsoever in order to keep your job is unethical and illegal. If the case here is one where you are being asked to complete duties for pay which happen to be outside of your job description then we have a different issue to deal with.


mlsiasebs eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it depends whether you are doing it on company time or truly as a volunteer.  If it's the latter, then legally they can't require it.  If it's the former, then they are paying you for your time so I don't know that it would be a big deal unless it's putting you in a situation where you are unable to do what needs to be done.  If it's on your own time, can you talk to your boss and perhaps figure out why he wants you to do so.  If you are younger, he may see this as an important thing to help you develop as a productive member of the society.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with post number 7. Often in contracts there are stipulations that allow employers to require employees to perform "other duties." My last teaching job had this stipulation, and it was widely invoked for events like prom, taking tickets at football games, and so on. Before you assert your right not to work off the clock, it would be wise to ensure that your contract or any paperwork you've signed doesn't allow for this. Besides, volunteer work is usually pretty rewarding in and of itself.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your boss may not have the ability to force you to do anything, as the previous response says.  However, your boss has the ability to really impact your career.  If you want to stay on your boss's good side, it is a pretty good idea to do this. This is particularly true since your boss is not trying to get you to do something unethical.  The boss shouldn't do this, but if the boss does, you'd probably better go along.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are able to volunteer you probably should to gain goodwill with the boss and community. If you can't volunteer for some reason go speak with the boss privately.Be honest about your reasons for not volunteering. Let the boss know that you want to help out but just can't.

Many of us do things that are job related that may not be necessarily listed in the job description.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bottom line answer to your question is that your boss has no authority to force you to become involved in volunteer activities on your own personal time. If your boss is encouraging you to participate on company time because it is good public relations for the firm or whatever, it might be wise to seriously consider doing so.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not see any reason NOT to do volunteer work.  What I would do is choose something that you will enjoy.  Your boss can support you by giving you connections, resources, or time.  Ultimately it can be very good for your image in the company because it will show you are a team player and want to give back to the community.