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New clause about expression of opinions in job description, can anyone please advise (Flowery?)?

(5 Posts)
2015newstart Thu 30-Mar-17 10:58:43

I need to sign a new job description at work. The only thing that has changed is an additional clause about confidentiality and conduct (in addition to those I am already bound by). It prohibits me from expressing "opinions not related directly with this role" and also from any "pursuit of agendas" not associated with the role. I don't have a great relationship with my manager (he is quite volatile) so I don't want to challenge this unless I have to. Does anyone know whether these things are normal? And also, were I to sign this, could they insist it applies to out of work activities too?

I wouldn't breach any of these conditions anyway (so far as I understand them to apply ) and I don't regularly post on social media, but I also don't want to sign anything that would cause problems later. I am moving into a slightly different role following an upheld grievance so at the moment I'm assuming these clauses are to stop me talking about what happened.

If I speak to HR they will just refer me to my manager.

Thank you very much to anyone who can advise.

flowery Thu 30-Mar-17 14:36:16

Not normal for a job description, no. How odd. Job descriptions of the job, ie tasks and responsibilities you perform.

They are not a list of restrictions or rules, which should be in a disciplinary policy, staff handbook, contract, code of conduct or similar.

They can't forbid you from expressing opinions about stuff - does that mean you can't comment to a client that the weather is tiresome or you like his/her shirt? Those are both opinions which are not directly (I presume) related to your role.

They also couldn't prevent you from pursuing the 'agenda' of a cure for cancer therefore fundraising for Cancer Research in your spare time, for example.

Sounds misplaced and badly drafted/badly thought-out. I would challenge it on the basis of querying why it's in a job description, explaining that it is not clear and asking why it's there.

But if you sign it it's probably not the end of the world, because if they did attempt to discipline you for expressing an opinion or similar, the fact that you'd signed something ridiculous wouldn't make that disciplinary perfectly fair.

2015newstart Thu 30-Mar-17 14:56:01

Thanks so much @flowery. It's in a section marked 'code of conduct', which has a standard paragraph (reiterating what's in our staff policies) and then this amendment. As they wouldn't be able to place prohibitions on what I do outside of work then I won't raise it as I want to make the change of role as stress free as possible. flowers

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 03-Apr-17 10:00:36

Do they mean that if you ever have to update the company's social media (twitter/facebook etc) or if you ever have to give talks then they must reflect the company's view rather than your own view. It could be this.

Alternatively it may be that what they mean is that you should not express extreme views on your personal social media that might bring the company into disrepute eg. openly racist views etc. Ot for example, if you are a teacher not post inappropriate things that students or parents may see (whether it is sexy pics or slagging off your boss).

I would just ask them to clarify what it means.

sniffle12 Wed 05-Apr-17 00:31:52

I think it would be more usual to see in a contract some kind of clause preventing you doing anything that brings the company into disrepute.

So if you post on Twitter that a shop you've been in that's completely unrelated to your role/industry is rubbish, no problem. If however you post on Twitter that your own company, or a competitor, is rubbish, it might be a problem.

However having it within a job description sounds strange. As far as I'm aware, a job description isn't a legally binding document - presumably you have signed a contract of employment at another time which serves as that? The way they've phrased it is also weird as it doesn't only cover opinions which bring the company into disrepute but all opinions!

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