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forced community service?
Old 11-12-2007, 06:58 PM   #1
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forced community service?

Can an employer take into consideration community service as part of it's overall employee rating if they do not offer the opportunity to perform said community service while being paid?
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:07 PM   #2
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Ohhhh, that is putting their toe up the the line....

Do they define 'community service'? How do they rate what an employee says they do?
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #3
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This is what transpired with an acquaintance of mine:

My review is due this week. I got this email from my supervisor today:

----------------------------------------------

"Do you have any CRA related activities, Charitable and Outreach that I should include on your review? It should include :

-Participation in charitable, academic, social and civic service activities, i.e. United Way.

-Participation in Outside Activities (Professional associations,local organizations, i.e. Local Chambers, Religious organizations.)

Please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks."

-----------------------------------------------------

I emailed HR about the legality of this, and she emailed my supervisor back (Don't know why she didn't email me back.) and my supervisor just sent this:

-----------------------------------------------------

"This is the response I received from **** regarding your CRA question. If you have any to list I would be happy to, but in light of below you need not to. Just let me know.

"In 2007 we added the CRA section to the reviews. CRA will not affect 2007 reviews since employees were not aware of it initially in 2006. Beginning with the 2008 reviews, we will take CRA activity into consideration when calculating an overall rating.""
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:54 PM   #4
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I think this is an opportunity for some creative fun. Potential credits:
  • Organizer, Black Panther Party
  • KKK Imperial Wizard, Local Chapter
  • Resurrecting Students for a Democratic Society Local Chapter
  • Chairperson, John Birch Society
  • Recruiter, Weathermen Underground
  • Union Organizer, (your company)
  • Your company, Representative for ACLU
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:20 PM   #5
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OMG! That's freakin' hilarious!! I passed along your potential credits. Thanks for the humor.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:37 PM   #6
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There was a similar section on annual performance appraisal/review forms while I was employed at megacorp. It included Affirmative Action and other activities, though participation through company sponsored programs carried much more weight than activities you performed on your own.

United Way was a corporate crusade, too. Some years, it was pretty heavy handed. There were forms for making regular monthly contributions through payroll deduction, but no forms for halting the contributions.

They served as motivators for early retirement.
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Old 11-12-2007, 09:03 PM   #7
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Ok, there are gazillion ways to game this.

Do you do anything related to your kid's school, athletic activities, social activities? Perhaps you have a relative with a hearing deficit and are into signing. Do you participate in activities like trail clearing? Remember, it is not the amount of time you spend doing it that counts.

Many employers get REALLY uncomfortable when you start listing things like teaching Sunday school but to discount it will really cause them grief.

Really dicey is discussing participating in Alanon, but in reality AA programs have changed the lives of millions. Remember, for them to fail to give you full credit here will cause major problems with ADEA compliance.

Oh, this could be a lot of fun!
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Old 11-12-2007, 09:05 PM   #8
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That seems way, way over the line to me. What I do on my own time is none of their business, unless I choose to share it with them. I certainly hope this is not legal, but in any case, that would be enough to make me start looking for a new opportunity.

Two jobs ago the United Way stuff was heavy handed also. Lots of pressure from senior execs, with the implication that I was selfish for not wanting to participate. I explained that I already contribute to charities of my own choice and wish to avoid paying middlemen, but it felt like they either didn't believe me or wouldn't acknowledge that I had the right to make my own choices.

I like it best when management is all about getting the work done and rewarding the top performers. This paternalistic crap drives me nuts.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:07 AM   #9
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Can an employer take into consideration community service as part of it's overall employee rating if they do not offer the opportunity to perform said community service while being paid?
Yeah, but in the military we called it the "Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal".

It got to the point where marginal performers were going crazy on the volunteer stuff in hopes of buffing up their rankings, despite the glaring fact that they weren't doing very well at their "real" jobs.

Think of it as bonus points for unpaid overtime...
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:52 AM   #10
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At the place where I toiled, this was one of those things where it was much, much easier to just kind of go along with the program than fight it. I'd just list a few things I'd be doing anyway, with whatever embellishment was necessary - nobody actually checked, and that took care of it. We didn't actually get graded on community involvement, it was a pass/fail sort of thing. And if you wrote down anything, you passed.

I never heard of any negative consequences for folks who took the trouble to fight it however.
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:39 AM   #11
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The person who inquired about their employer using community service being as part of their job evaluation is an hourly employee who works at a bank. I have learned more about banking while researching this subject. Banks are required to meet the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Basically they have to meet the financial needs of the entire community which includes the low and moderate income individuals. I get the feeling that this bank thinks employee participation in community service organizations will help the bank meet their CRA obligations. I can find nothing in the CRA that states employee participation in community service organizations will help the bank meet their CRA obligations. I question the legality of an employer using community service activities as part of employee ratings. I feel it is a huge invasion of privacy especially when you consider AA, NA suicide prevention, domestic violence hotlines or planned parenthood type activities. Things you may be involved in because it has affected your life or someone close to you. IMO, it's bad enough to ask if you have done community service but to require the employee to list which organization you did it with is an invasion of privacy.
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Old 11-13-2007, 11:13 AM   #12
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Here is the latest e-mail from the employer.


"Good morning,

Several people have asked questions about the types of community service activities that would qualify for CRA credit. Here is a sample list of organizations to contact when seeking CRA credit. This is only a sample list and you are certainly not bound by what I have suggested. Please feel free to ask me about any other organizations that might interest you. As I stated in our training session last month, remember the key to CRA credit through community service is the activity must benefit low/moderate income individuals. Working with animals, for example, would not qualify. Make sure all of your activity is documented.

You can contact any of these organizations:

Your local food pantry (There's almost one in every town/suburb)
Homeless Shelters
Women & Children Shelters
Red Cross
Salvation Army
Restoration Ministries (headquartered in South Holland, they have over 40 programs to choose from)
PADS (Rotating homeless shelter--moves around from church to church in local communities)
Volunteer Solutions Helping volunteers meet the nonprofits that need their help (a Volunteer Matching Application that helps connect individuals to volunteer opportunities in their community)
Crisis Center for South Suburbia (provides a number of services including emergency shelter, transitional housing, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, court and hospital advocacy, and community education.
Northwest Indiana Community Action Corp. (assists low-income, elderly and disabled families to maintain independence and self-sufficiency)
Meals On Wheels Of Northwest Indiana, Inc. (or Illinois)

With the holiday season approaching, volunteers are needed at greater levels so now would be a good time to get involved if you aren't already.

Thank you,"
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Old 11-13-2007, 11:50 AM   #13
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You would be absolutely amazed at how often management changes performance appraisals, and the negotiations that go into that process. Odds are that element was added to get sign-on from a key player for whom that was important. Often HR or Corporate wants to know what employees are doing so that they can use that information to tell the community/governmental agencies about added value. When it has added value to them they are willing to give extra points. Ever notice ads featuring employees doing good works?

Most of us can put something down. I just wouldn't communicate that I walked on water least corporate communications wants to feature your efforts.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:58 PM   #14
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Can an employer take into consideration community service as part of it's overall employee rating if they do not offer the opportunity to perform said community service while being paid?
I've worked at a bank before, so there is mandated CRA stuff, and now I work for a large utility that I feel is sometimes forced to do "social responsibility" stuff beyond the call of duty because it is a huge employer. My manager will note my stuff on my performance review, but it's considered an extra. I don't get a better rating because of it; it's just noted. I work as a recruiter, but sometimes I volunteer on my own to give job hunting presentations (you know, how to do resume, interview hints, references, etc.) without representing the company, and that stuff is noted as well. When I was at the bank, that info was also provided to the CRA person so that she could note it for the company.

You may want to get better clarification from those above you or from HR on the impact of whether there's "extra credit" for doing volunteer work though. Perhaps each company is different.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:01 PM   #15
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Two jobs ago the United Way stuff was heavy handed also. Lots of pressure from senior execs, with the implication that I was selfish for not wanting to participate. I explained that I already contribute to charities of my own choice and wish to avoid paying middlemen, but it felt like they either didn't believe me or wouldn't acknowledge that I had the right to make my own choices.
Several jobs ago, I was told that the CEO would have a meeting w/his direct reports and have them complete their United Way forms there. It's not always great at the top, I guess.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:59 AM   #16
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Several jobs ago, I was told that the CEO would have a meeting w/his direct reports and have them complete their United Way forms there. It's not always great at the top, I guess.
They tried that at Megacorp in the 1980's. Employees filed amended contribution forms later........
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:10 AM   #17
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They tried that at Megacorp in the 1980's. Employees filed amended contribution forms later........
I remember one year at MegaCorp where not only did you have to fill out your form during a pretty large group meeting, the leader of the meeting then READ THE NAMES AND THE AMOUNTS PLEDGED!

That was the first year MegaCorp did not meet its goal to raise XXX $ for this charity. Not only did the employees amend their pledges, most dropped them completely and many never signed up again! (Can't say I blame 'em one bit!)
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:16 PM   #18
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forced community service? isn't that the punishment for misdemeanors? you wouldn't think an employer would encourage that.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:58 PM   #19
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United Way does the most aggressive begging for money that I've ever seen.

I once had a supervisor who told us that if it were legal to make us contribute, then he would do so.

Unspoken point understood. (Hmm, no vomiting smilie.)

Increase my pay by the amount you want me to donate, plus nominal tax rate, plus normal salary for the time spent in rah-rah meetings and filling out the form, and I'll consider it.
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