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R H
  • R H
  • Chicago, IL
  • United States

TEDCRED 30+

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Employer's 'Codes of Conduct' are violations of my civil rights

I recently worked with a Fortune 25 corp and had to sign a 'code of conduct' as a condition of employment. In it, it stated (effectively) 'employees conduct is a reflection of the company both on and off the job, therefore employees must conduct themselves in a manner representing the company at all times'. I felt this violated my civil rights. I felt that I was hired to perform a task, to a job, and that my life is my own. The employer (ostensibly) felt that to work there was a choice, not a demand, and this is their condition of employment if I should 'choose' to work there. My conduct is my business - especially 'off' the job. I am not a slave. I am not 'owned'. My actions are not 'owned', and I cannot be 'discarded' because I may or may not have personal values that mirror my employers. Employment is 'at will', I agree. But losing my job because of my conduct at home is a violation of my civil rights.

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    May 21 2013: it can not possibly a violation of your rights, because you voluntarily sign the contract. if you don't want to comply, simply do not sign the contract, but either negotiate a new one, or just simply leave.

    putting limitations on what kind of contracts can be made by adult individuals, on the other hand, would be a violation of their civil rights. owners of the company as well as any employee candidate both have civil rights, and it includes the freedom of contract.
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      R H 30+

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      May 22 2013: Ok. I sign an employment agreement which includes a 'code of conduct' that says my 'conduct', both on and off of work (and that's the key here), is under corp scrutiny and could effect disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Is this not a contractual demand that 'over steps the bounds' of personal freedom? In other words, it's not whether or not I can refuse to participate in the agreement - that's a given. It's whether or not that part of the agreement is legal. Religion is a perfect example. There can be no clause in an employment agreement that makes religious preference a consideration in dismissal or denying employment, that religion is strictly a personal and private matter. Is not my personal and private conduct - outside of work - a similar argument? I agree that putting limitations on agreements between people/individuals/business orgs is unhealthy. But employment is another matter - we already have agreed upon employment limitations of exclusion such as: Race, Creed, Marital status, now Sexual Orientation, etc. These 'civil rights' cannot be considered as reasons for dismissal or denying employment. Do not my civil liberties - at home - fall under that same consideration? Let me state it another way: I can fire you because I discovered you do something at home, very arbitrarily, I don't like. Do you feel this is justified because you were told upfront that your conduct at home was under scrutiny and you signed? Or do you feel that 'at home conduct' clauses should not be allowed to be considered in your employment agreement?
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        May 22 2013: "There can be no clause in an employment agreement that makes religious preference a consideration in dismissal or denying employment"

        you see, that is a problem. that goes against the freedom of contract, and thus immoral. in any reasonable free society, employers can fire employees without giving a even a hint of a reason. if i feel uncomfortable with my employer controlling my private life, i leave. if i'm okay with it, i don't want the state or you to interfere.
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          R H 30+

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          May 22 2013: Krisztian, are you saying that having people protected from religious discrimination in employment 'is a problem' and 'immoral'? If so, I have nothing to respond. Thanks for participating.
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        May 22 2013: yes, i claim that. if an employer is so deeply religious that he does not want to work with atheists, it is perfectly fine. if an employer is so atheist and anti-religious that he does not want to work with religious people, it is also fine.

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