Can employees essentially be made to donate to a charity?

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Can employees essentially be made to donate to a charity?

My company supports the United Way and solicit the donation from employees every year. The company set a goal to have 100% participation and promote the higher amount of donation by giving out prices. If certain employees choose not to donate, the managers and United Way committee will put they own money for those employees in order to meet the 100% participation goal. Some employees feel “obligated” to donate because they are pursued by phone call and email from the committee and also know they would be on the “black list” of people who not participate. It is ashamed that a good cause became such a political turmoil.

Asked on October 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If employees do not have an employment contract, they are employees at will; an employee at will may be terminated (or anything less than termination: demoted, pay cut, suspended, not promoted, etc.) at any time, for any reason. Furthermore, businesses can set requirements or rules for employment, which can include obligations to give to various causes or charities, and can take employment action against employees who do not comply. Therefore, it appears that yes, your employer can pressure employees to do this, so long as it does not simply uniltarally withhold money from employee compensation for charitable donations without employee consent, even if such consent is given out of a fear of job consequences.


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