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View Full Version : What can your employer make you do while off the clock?


tonydanza
01-22-2007, 01:31 AM
Long story short, my girlfriend and I work together and the other day we were kind of fighting while at work, but not in front of people. We were tucked away arguing in one of the aisles away from customers and employees, but this pissed the MOD off kinda bad I guess, so she told the store manager, who now says we can't hold hands, or really have any physical contact while on the premises.... Even though we're off the clock when we're leaving.

Can she tell us not to do that legally?

ZumZum
01-22-2007, 01:49 AM
You should read your employee handbook. I know at most retail companies I have worked for they don't allow dating/marriage/living together, etc. of employees. They would transfer one or if that isn't possible, leave it to the dating couple to decide who stays and who leaves.

tonydanza
01-22-2007, 01:56 AM
Well we're allowed to be together, we are not in violation of anything in the emplyee handbook.

It says we're allowed to be together as long as out relationship does not affect our work, and while it did one time, it is not a regular occurence. My point is that her telling us we can't hold hands on the premises, even though she's not paying us, us rediculous.

Irving Patrick Freleigh
01-22-2007, 02:30 AM
You should read your employee handbook. I know at most retail companies I have worked for they don't allow dating/marriage/living together, etc. of employees. They would transfer one or if that isn't possible, leave it to the dating couple to decide who stays and who leaves.

That doesn't apply at my company. We have married couples working at my store all the time. The rule is one partner can't be in a position to supervise the other.

For example, we used to have a guy who worked in the backroom, lawn and garden, and eventually became the salesfloor supervisor. His wife was, and still is, a cashier. We also have one woman who is our current salesfloor supervisor, and her husband works in the backroom unloading trucks and stocking on third shift.

As for tonydanza's situation, I can't see how that could fly, especially if he and his girlfriend are not in uniform.

bean
01-22-2007, 03:29 AM
The only thing an employer can MAKE you do off the clock is leave the premises. Also, as long as you're not in uniform, they can't tell you not to hold hands while off the clock (however, they can forbid it while on the clock). They CAN ask you to leave, but they'd have to do the same for all couples.

For what it's worth, my company doesn't forbid dating among employees and even states in the handbook that they fully expect it to happen. They do state that managers cannot date somebody in their department, beyond that it's anything goes really.

Gurndigarn
01-22-2007, 03:48 AM
The only thing an employer can MAKE you do off the clock is leave the premises. Also, as long as you're not in uniform, they can't tell you not to hold hands while off the clock

They can tell you (or anyone, for that matter) not to engage in any activity they think can adversely affect the location. Public displays of affection fall in that category... though banning holding hands is probably a hair draconian, and could get them laughed at by a judge if they decide to fire you over it.

On the other hand, it is a bit of a reaction (overraction, probably, but anyway...) over a real problem you handed them in the past.

They CAN ask you to leave, but they'd have to do the same for all couples.

Not if it's a reaction to a real infraction in the past.

It is overkill, really, but their other option was writing you up over the argument you had earlier. So I understand the logic, vaguely, even if I don't agree that it was a good response.

RecoveringKinkoid
01-22-2007, 05:45 AM
Well, regardless of what is legal and what is not, if they get uptight about it don't do it.

I am currently working at a job where both myself and my husband are employed in the same building. It will be the third job where we both worked in the same place. Companies have been willing to bend the rules with us, because we have a traceable history of being completely professional while at work. It has never caused any issue, nor will it.

Currently, the company doesn't care if we hold hands. However we only do it when nobody's around.

I understand it must rankle when you are on your own time. But how much do you really hang out at work while off the clock? It's a little, petty thing, and they probably ought to get off your case about it. Still, pick your battles. This isn't the hill you need to die on. Don't give them reason to form the idea that having you both working there is a problem. Or it might BECOME a problem. Managers have the tendency to over-react sometimes, so don't give them any reason.

powerboy
01-22-2007, 07:51 AM
I would say don't hold hands on Company time. I do not see what is wrong with holding hands after you're both off.

Lace Neil Singer
01-22-2007, 12:20 PM
And why hang around after work anyway? :confused: I always vacate the premises as soon as I can, unless I have to buy stuff.

FTGTF
01-22-2007, 12:30 PM
You're not gonna like this, but in most cases companies can tell you what to do off the clock. It's been an increasing thing lately where employers are flexing their capabilities of what they can tell you to do off the clock. I mean there's already companies that already say no drugs, no alcohol. Now there's companies saying no smoking. There was a story around here about people being fired from a fitness place for gaining weight, etc.

I mean I wouldn't fire an employee for holding hands, or a quick kiss. But I've known employers that would, or know employers that are concerned with relationships. And chances are your manager was concerned, and the fight pushed it out front and center. If the fight didn't happen then it probably would have never been brought up.

The other thing is what's off the clock? Because I know with us for instance we pay you for 15 minute breaks and lunch. And alot of employers pay for the 15 minutes here. Yes you punch out for them, but you still get paid for them.

But I think RecoveringKinkoid said it best. regardless of whether it's legal or not don't do it, if they get uptight about it.

Because if you're wondering whether they can legally fire you for holding hands. You're asking the wrong question. They can fire you. If not for the holding hands then something else. And trust me they can find the something else.

NightAngel
01-22-2007, 07:37 PM
Once again I doubt my opinion will be popular...

My hubby and I have been co-workers more than once.
Our standing rule is that at work we do NOT do anything together at work that we wouldn't do with any other co-worker. We don't hold hands, we don't kiss, etc. If we're arguing we simply do not speak to eachother and if we are forced to then we keep it to short, work related statements so we are not tempted to bring the home problems into the work environment. We both consider this to be good professionalism.

Most places won't allow people who are dating/married/involved/related work together. This is a perfect example of why- instead of doing what you're paid to do you were out on the sales floor arguing. If you two were so "away" the MOD wouldn't have known.

The employer has every right to set the standards of how their employees will act while on their premises. If you just clocked out from work then you are still in uniform and still representing the company on their premises.

blas
01-22-2007, 07:48 PM
Prime example of why PDA at work is wrong:
Friend A and friend B were dating at the grocery store. They decided after work to go makeout in one of the aisles, still in their work uniforms and their nametags on. Many a customer (and coworker, and *cough* manager) saw them. They were both terminated.

I'm a firm believer in not dating at all if you work together, because of what's happened to me in the past, but if it works for you, more power to you.

I was dating my video game obsessed sociopath ex, and one day he tore me a new one because I refused to hold his hand at work. I'm sorry, but that screams unprofessional. I don't care if I work at a factory where we have no real dress code or standards, but it still doesn't look good. He got mad at me and I called him names and everyone heard it. Then people talk....it's just not good. Although our rule at work is supervisors cannot date operators.....it's still a bad, bad idea. Unless you are already together or already married...then that may be ok. We have married couples at the factory, but they work in seperate departments.

Irving Patrick Freleigh
01-22-2007, 08:03 PM
Prime example of why PDA at work is wrong:
Friend A and friend B were dating at the grocery store. They decided after work to go makeout in one of the aisles, still in their work uniforms and their nametags on. Many a customer (and coworker, and *cough* manager) saw them. They were both terminated.

:eek: :lol:

We have a special in the cereal aisle today!

tollbaby
01-23-2007, 06:14 PM
I have to agree with NightAngel on this one. It's simply not appropriate for employees, whether on the clock or off, to engage in any kind of romantic behavior IN THEIR PLACE OF WORK. I don't work with my boyfriend, and heck, he's only in the country two or three times a year, but I would never consider holding hands with him or anything else while in the office. I do meet him outside and walk him back to the bus stop when he visits me at work though, so I can get a quick kiss in before he leaves ;) But I don't consider that "on the premises", and neither does my employer.

AFpheonix
01-26-2007, 10:03 AM
:eek: :lol:

We have a special in the cereal aisle today!

I'd rather that than a clean up in aisle 5 ;)