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Dec 18, 201812:43 PMOpen Mic

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Is it okay to say ‘Bah! Humbug!’ to Tiny Tim’s fundraiser?

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Make sure the policy is consistently enforced

Make sure your solicitation policy does not violate employees’ right to engage in protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Allowing one group of nonemployees to set up a sales table on company property but not allowing nonemployee union representatives to hand out pamphlets in the same location could get you in hot water.   

You may have to allow some limited solicitation, regardless of your policy. Consider the following National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) guidelines when creating a solicitation policy:

  • Employees may be prohibited from distributing any materials during their working time. This includes all times during which an employee is assigned to or engaged in the performance of job duties, but does not include scheduled breaks or meal periods during which time the employee is not expected to perform any job duties. In addition, it does not include the time before and after the employee’s shift.
  • Regardless of whether they are on working time, employees may be prohibited from distributing any materials in working areas. This includes all areas where work is actually performed, but does not include areas such as break rooms, parking lots, locker rooms, and employee cafeterias.
  • Employees may be prohibited from soliciting another employee during their working time or during the other employee’s working time.
  • Employees may be prohibited from soliciting another employee at any time while in certain working areas (such as patient care areas or retail sales floors).
  • Nonemployees do not have to be allowed to solicit employees or distribute written material on company property.

Fundraising etiquette

If you allow fundraising in your workplace, encourage good solicitation etiquette. For example, make sure supervisors and managers aren’t putting undue pressure on subordinates to buy what their kid is selling. How people are treated by their boss shouldn’t depend on how much they spend on fundraiser candy.

Let all employees know it’s okay to say no to a co-worker, supervisor, manager, or subordinate who comes around with order forms. After all, how many rolls of wrapping paper can someone with an attitude like Scrooge or a budget like Bob Cratchit be expected to buy?

Judy Kneiszel is an associate editor with J. J. Keller & Associates. Kneiszel specializes in business topics such as recruiting and hiring, onboarding and training, team building, employee retention, and labor relations. She is the editor of J. J. Keller’s SUPER adVISOR newsletter and Essentials of Employee Relations manual.

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