General Question

Facade's avatar

Do you agree with the fact that some employers have rules/guidelines that involve your personal life?

Asked by Facade (22937points) July 1st, 2009

I hope you understand the question. It was hard for me to put my thoughts into words just then

For example: You interview for a job at a company. The interviewer informs you that the employees (including you) are not allowed to be drunk in public and things of that nature.
How do you feel about that?

(I’m watching the Real World and the company the roommates work for has a “no drinking in public” rule)

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37 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

where the hell are you supposed to drink?

ubersiren's avatar

I say any employer can hire on whatever basis he wants and have whatever ground rules he wants. Whether certain rules would be in his best interest is entirely different.

Darwin's avatar

I worked for a city government and we had a rule that said we weren’t allowed to embarrass the city. That meant we could drink in public but we had better not get busted for DUI or public drunkeness, especially if someone from the newspaper was around.

Within reason your employer can indeed set rules like that. However, you are also free to go work for someone else that doesn’t have those rules.

Facade's avatar

@eponymoushipster That’s what I was thinking

gooch's avatar

Yes my job has rules like that. Conduct unbecoming of a firefighter. You must have a phone in your home. What hairstyles you can wear. No beards. You must be a registered voter.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think not drinking in public is a good rule for everyone. Bars are ok. Street corner, not so much.

As for work controlling your personal life, that’s complete crap.

eponymoushipster's avatar

that’s like Disney – rules pertaining to personal appearance. and they don’t pay anything, to boot.

screw that. be a hobo! drink when and where you want. shit your pants on the bus. wear your hair however you like.

tinyfaery's avatar

I hate this. Since when are we our jobs? Why do I carry my job with me everywhere I go? America is too concerned with what we do to make money.

eponymoushipster's avatar

“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

Darwin's avatar

@tinyfaery – Tell that to a minister or a school teacher.

kenmc's avatar

I’m not allowed to grow facial hair at my job. This was told to me after sporting a lovely beard for nigh upon a year.

It’s stupid.

They are in control of my work life. Not my private.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I understand it. There are companies and corporations (like Disney) that have a culture some people want to be a part of and willingly adapt their lifestyles to. For example, just by personality, people in my business can look at others and remark, “oh they’re so Buick or VW”, etc.

tinyfaery's avatar

Teachers are just people, fucked-up like everyone else. And, unions would never allow an issue like DUI effect employment. Ministers? Is that a job? If it is, that’s sad.

kenmc's avatar

@eponymoushipster Amazing fightclub quote lurve.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@boots thanks, snowflake.~

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Usually excessive rules come in when people are too obtuse to exercise good judgement on their own.

These days, people spend so much time at work that the lines between the two often blur, especially with company provided cell phones and laptops. There’s a difference between showing up for a “job” and treating your work life as a career.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@eponymoushipster: Mad lurve for quoting Pahlaniuk.

If the company lets you know ahead of time that you have to adhere to certain behaviors/styles of dress/appearances/whatever, then I think it’s okay. If they spring stuff on you after you’ve been working there for a while, well, that’s just bad. It’s not as if they’re allowed to not hire you because of something you can’t change. It doesn’t seem much different than telling you when you have to work and what your duties are. You know all this ahead of time. If you don’t like the strictures, don’t work there. That’s why I haven’t dyed my hair blue because I know a lot of prospective employers don’t want to hire a blue-haired girl.

Jeruba's avatar

I think any organization has a right to set standards for its employees. Airlines used to require that stewardesses be within a certain age range, weight range, and height range, wear their hair a certain length, etc.—and be single. There’s nothing “unfair” about this. No one has to work for a company whose standards they don’t want to conform to.

My only problem would be if they didn’t tell you those rules beforehand. If you unwittingly broke one—say, having a drink while at lunch with a client—and came back to the office to find out that you were being held accountable for a violation you’d never been told about, that would be wrong.

Of course being a minister is a job. So is being a governor of a state, a member of parliament or congress, CEO of a company, etc., and the behavior of those folks is typically held to certain standards by the public, and often a higher standard than folks ordinarily hold for themselves. Same with celebrities (although the standards are often more lax). That too goes with the territory. In some positions you are never really completely off duty. But that is not normally a secret beforehand.

Facade's avatar

@gooch Do you know why they would try to control hairstyles?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Facade: I’m not a firefighter but I would guess the hair thing might have something to do with safety. If you have long loose hair or a long beard, it could catch on fire. I know that a helmet would generally prevent this but if one lock slipped out in a burning building… Of course, I could be wrong, this is just a guess.

Facade's avatar

@KatawaGrey I didn’t catch that he was a firefighter. my bad

Darwin's avatar

@tinyfaery – So you figure those folks who hang out at the church 5 or 6 days a week, plan and conduct all the services, and make sure the building stays functional are just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts?

Yes, there is a job of being a minister, a preacher, a clergy person, a priest, a rabbi, or whatever you want to call it, whether you attend a church or not. Just like everyone else they have mortgages and most have families to feed (unless they are Catholic).

And if you think I was referring to an administrative person in government, that type of minister also spends 40-hours+ a week in an office and so deserves to be paid. Hence, it, too, is a job.

In addition, a lot of people look askance at teachers who publicly fail to live up to their roles as role models for other people’s children.

tinyfaery's avatar

My reference isn’t to money, but having a calling v. having a job. It’s not about personal time, is it?

Facade's avatar

@tinyfaery I think people who have jobs that would label them as “role models” should conduct themselves as such, at least while they’re in public.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Facade: That’s a great way to put it. Lurve to you.

tinyfaery's avatar

Role model? Another thing I do not agree with. No one is perfect. Holding people to more than human standard is cruel and leads people to lie
and hide what and who they truly are. And when the truth comes out those who idolized will be disappointed. How is
the idea of a role model a good thing? Rant over.

wundayatta's avatar

It seems that free speech is protected, except on the job. It’s interesting. Employers can not discriminate based on sex, but they can limit your speech as a condition of employment.

I know there were law suits about the flight attendants, because the companies were discriminating on age, sex, and marital status. Supposedly these things are illegal for employers to use as a basis for discrimination between potential employees.

Facial hair and clothing are forms of speech, but it is allowable for employers to demand that employees conform to specific standards of speech as a condition of employment. So, you can hire people because they are beautiful, or because they have big breasts, or because they wear skimpy clothes or clothes that cover every damn inch of skin. You can refuse to hire people who don’t meet these appearance standards, and that is your perogative, because it fits the business model.

I dunno. Would you want to go to a Hooters where all the wait staff were flat chested? Would you want to go to a Disney theme park with a lot of grungy people selling tickets? Would you want to use a bank where everyone looked and dressed like hippies?

Free speech is incompatible with making money, so speech goes flying out the window. Yay profits! Hip, hip…..

jca's avatar

if you don’t like the requirements, the rules, the standards, the expectations, then obviously that job is not for you. period.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I agree with the sentiment that it is an employer’s right to set whatever rules they would like (as long as they are not discriminatory by law) and that it is your choice to work for them and follow those rules or not.

I also think the no drinking in public rule makes quite a bit of sense for some businesses. In fact I have two personal examples:

1. When I was a co-director of a student organization on a college campus we established a rule: no talking about drinking inside the organization’s office (and no holding meetings at the bar). Now some people were really pissed off about this and I understand why. But our reasoning came from a horrible experience. At it involved date-rape between two members of the organization. So we decided that we would not condone a party atmosphere inside office walls and we would allow that to be a “sanctuary” of sorts. It is for business anyhow and not personal exploits. Those could easily be discussed by stepping outside of office walls.

2. I was part of a Grad school Counseling cohort. Many of the students would get together after-hours and drink together. They were also known to tell lude and racist jokes when drinking together. I was all for establishing a rule that says if you are out drinking you do not associate yourself with the Counseling cohort in any way shape or form, don’t even bring it up. Can you imagine being at a bar and here are a bunch of counselors-in-training telling racist jokes and driving home drunk (which was also an issue)?

What does get my goat a bit are the policies like the one @boots suggested. You can’t have a full beard?? What is the purpose of that?

And for one last little say on the topic. I also believe that for many many people our job is part of who we are. Some people choose that and some people have that happen upon them by the profession they choose. I think having pride in your work and your workplace is a privilege however and not everyone has that privelege. When that pride is available it does become a part of who we are.

El_Cadejo's avatar

While i think facebook and myspace is fucktarded i also think its pretty fucktarded when employers wont hire someone because they have one. I feel the same way about drug tests at work. Personal life and work life should be two entirely different things. If i show up for work on time everyday and work my ass off, do a good job, and follow all rules there, it shouldnt matter at all what the fuck i do when im off the clock.

watdat's avatar

agreeing with @jca here

If you still insist on staying despite the unhappiness…make sure it comes with full medical and dental. And complimentary therapy.

DrBill's avatar

The employer has the right to set any rules they want, within the law. The employee has to right to quit if they do not want to accept them. Rules must be the same for everyone in that same job.

Judi's avatar

@Jeruba ; Some of the old “stewardess” rules were discriminatory. There are some things an employer has a right to interfere with and some they don’t. There are protected employment classes. They can not discriminate against a persons marital status, or age like they used to because those issues are addressed in fair employment laws. I think they have stopped the height and weight requirements as well, but I am not sure if they are addressed in the laws.

Jack79's avatar

depending on your job, yes

even your diet and sleeping patterns are important when you’re a professional athlete for example, and I know of football players who basically lost their job (got transferred) for having sex the night before a match.

My dad owns a school and expects all his employees to be respected members of the society (ie not get drunk in public, not swear in front of children, go on the beach topless etc) and even tells them not to smoke outside working hours, but they go ahead and do it anyway.

So even though in theory you should be allowed to do whatever you like outside work, the nature of certain jobs (imagine an alcoholic doctor or a drug-addicted airline pilot) allows employers to enforce such rules.

Of course the counter argument could be that you can still get the job done, so who cares? There are endless examples of people, both famous and not, who didn’t follow the rules but still got the job done at the end of the day. But there’s probably more who allowed these external factors to affect their work, and in the end, if your performance drops, it doesn’t matter why, you’ll lose your job because of that anyway.

Jeruba's avatar

@Judi, not arguing for or against them or their legality, just citing an example of company rules that very much got into personal choices. I think the company had the right to set rules of that kind, and people had the choice not to work for them if they didn’t want to agree to the rules.

gooch's avatar

@facade uniformity and certain hair styles are hazardous because it gets in the way of the mask and harness we wear.

jca's avatar

Most people i know were totally for the NFL firing MIchael Vick. I also felt that the NFL was justfied in trying to distance itself from him. If a professional athlete or a celebrity gets arrested for whatever reason, the products they endorse usually drop them quickly. This is no different than any other job expecting certain behavior out of the work place.

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