It’s a trap! Employment documents that require you to violate company policy

Raymond Chen

One of my colleagues had a previous job involving tuning spam filters and removing objectionable content. Before he could start, he was told that he had to sign a special release. The form said basically, “I understand that my job may require me to see pornography or other objectionable material, and I promise not to sue.”

He asked, “So where is the part that says I’m not going to be fired for doing that?”

“What do you mean?”

He explained, “This document protects the company from me. But where is the part that protects me from the company?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He spelled it out: “Company policy says that watching pornography at work is grounds for termination. This document does not actually say that it’s okay for me to do so if it is done in the course of my job duties.”

“Look, you can either sign the release form or not, but you can’t work until you sign it.”

My colleague sighed as he signed the form. “Whatever. Nevermind.”


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