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Complaining in my office about Volunteer Initiative

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meresal

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Little backround... I'm sorry this is long, but I'm just trying to cover all the bases. I would love honest opinions. If you don't want to read my "mini-vent" then the question is at the bottom


Beginning last year, my company offered every employee two PAID 8 hour work-days to go volunteer wherever we wish. It was preferred that we do it as a group, but we were allowed to do whatever we wanted.
I volunteer as much as possible so I offered to head up the project. I found a day shelter for the homeless here about 3 blocks from our downtown office, and about 3/4ths of my dept participated. (Apprx 12 of my coworkers donated 60 hours in one month!) Everyone that went enjoyed it and it was very rewarding. If you didn't want to work with the homeless, you could go on the "food prep" day, and just get everything prepared for the service days. Many coworkers that didn't have time to volunteer last year, said they were very excited about being involved this year after hearing everyone rave.

So, this year, corporate is pushing the same program. However, obviously something must have happened at another location last year, because there is actually paperwork this year. There was an approval process for the volunteer activity, and all employees are required to sign liability waivers. I have a feeling some offices weren't volunteering at official 401c(3) projects, so essentially that company got little to no benefit for paying thousands of employees to volunteer. They have also been very proactive in making sure the volunteer location submits all their paperwork as well, because our company will also donate a certian $ amount per hour volunteered when we are done.

Well, this year another dept is going to be volunteering with us, and all 14 employees in thier group submitted everything the very first day. In my dept, 6 of 17 people signed up/submitted to me thier forms. All of whom are coworkers that volunteered last year. One man in my office has decided to be extremely vocal about refusing to sign the liability release waiver. I just listened to him for the 2nd time say, "If I cut my hand I would never think about claiming the company, but if they're going to ask me to sign a waiver, then that's just ridiculous. I won't be a part of this." FWIW, last year this man was very vocal around the office about enjoying his time volunteering.

I am very putt off by this. No, you don't have to participate, but you also don't have to make sure everyone else in the office doesn't either. Volunteering is something I feel very strongly about, so I'm probably taking this a little too seriously, but why in the world would you try to convince other people not to help the homeless??? It's not like we're sky-diving for Hunger.

If your company was offering this program and you had the time in your workday to donate, would you sign the form in order to help the community?
 

MichelleCarmen

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Yes, I would sign the form. It''s crazy to think your co-worker wouldn''t think twice about sueing an organization which is geared toward helping those in need. He sounds bitter. Is there a lot of work-related stresses going on in your company?
 

Porridge

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I would imagine anywhere would require you to sign a form like that, I wouldn''t think twice about it. Tell Ignoramus over there to shut it!
 

Loves Vintage

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Yes, I would sign the form, no problem. Quite possibly, nothing happened last year, but this year your company decided to formalize the process and are requiring the waivers, which is very routine and a requirement that most would consider a non-issue.

Regarding the extremely vocal guy in your office, I think he is just that. From what you said, he is always extremely vocal. He was vocal last year, when he was happy with the program. He's being vocal this year, when he is not happy with the program.

I've concluded that people are weird, and each have their own story and their own way, which I won't always understand, and that's ok.

I doubt the other people in your office haven't filled out the form yet because they are listening to him. Maybe they are just busy or are waiting until the deadline to fill it out?
 

Smurfysmiles

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i would sign it
some people just have their head where their butt should be, i would just try to ignore him
 

meresal

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Date: 3/20/2009 4:01:35 PM
Author: MC
Yes, I would sign the form. It''s crazy to think your co-worker wouldn''t think twice about sueing an organization which is geared toward helping those in need. He sounds bitter. Is there a lot of work-related stresses going on in your company?
MC- Sorry, I should clarify, he meant he would never have thought of sueing the company if he got hurt. He''s irritated that they are asking him to put what he is saying he would never do, in writing.
I work for a bank which is ankle deep in this Government TARP program. Though my office isn''t feeling the hurt, in my eyes, I can''t really sympathize with a man that is as old as my father and is trying to reach retirement. It could be stress, but what LV said is very true, he is vocal about anything that excites him, good or bad.
 

Kaleigh

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Absolutely I would sign it. It''s a no brainer to me.
 

purrfectpear

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I would sign but then I''m not one to worry about injuries.

I can see his point though. He''s covered for anything that happens to him from 8 to 5 (or whatever) as a work related injury. Now the company is asking him to waive that right, even though he is still representing the company for those hours he works. You''re talking about him waiving his workers comp rights, not waiving the volunteer company for liability right?
 

Elmorton

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Date: 3/20/2009 4:30:42 PM
Author: purrfectpear
I would sign but then I''m not one to worry about injuries.


I can see his point though. He''s covered for anything that happens to him from 8 to 5 (or whatever) as a work related injury. Now the company is asking him to waive that right, even though he is still representing the company for those hours he works. You''re talking about him waiving his workers comp rights, not waiving the volunteer company for liability right?
Ditto. I think would sign because I think it''s a great program and I''d probably rather be helping someone than in the office...but I think the sticking point is that this really isn''t volunteerism but community service that you''re performing as part of your job (even though yes, you have a CHOICE to do it or stay in the office - but since it''s paid, it''s not really volunteering). So, since you are going to likely be in situations that could result in injury more easily than the office, it''s a little dirty for your company to ask you to waive rights, especially when they''re going to claim your work in their numbers. I agree with you both - I think it''s an awesome program, but like most things corporate, it''s a little underhanded, too.

Now, I volunteer all the time and often do sign away rights in case of injury, but that''s a little different because my employer isn''t paying me/considering this as part of my hours. I think of it as signing a waiver that I would do for darned near any recreational activity these days.
 

Loves Vintage

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Date: 3/20/2009 4:26:31 PM
Author: meresal

Date: 3/20/2009 4:01:35 PM
Author: MC
Yes, I would sign the form. It''s crazy to think your co-worker wouldn''t think twice about sueing an organization which is geared toward helping those in need. He sounds bitter. Is there a lot of work-related stresses going on in your company?
MC- Sorry, I should clarify, he meant he would never have thought of sueing the company if he got hurt. He''s irritated that they are asking him to put what he is saying he would never do, in writing.
I work for a bank which is ankle deep in this Government TARP program. Though my office isn''t feeling the hurt, in my eyes, I can''t really sympathize with a man that is as old as my father and is trying to reach retirement. It could be stress, but what LV said is very true, he is vocal about anything that excites him, good or bad.
Oh, I totally read it wrong the first time too. I thought he said he would never think twice about suing the company. Now, I see he''s complaining about the fact that they want him to sign something that he actually agrees with . . . like he''s offended by it! Yeesh! I would be very annoyed with him too!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 3/20/2009 4:57:01 PM
Author: Loves Vintage

Date: 3/20/2009 4:26:31 PM
Author: meresal

MC- Sorry, I should clarify, he meant he would never have thought of sueing the company if he got hurt. He''s irritated that they are asking him to put what he is saying he would never do, in writing.
I work for a bank which is ankle deep in this Government TARP program. Though my office isn''t feeling the hurt, in my eyes, I can''t really sympathize with a man that is as old as my father and is trying to reach retirement. It could be stress, but what LV said is very true, he is vocal about anything that excites him, good or bad.
Oh, I totally read it wrong the first time too. I thought he said he would never think twice about suing the company. Now, I see he''s complaining about the fact that they want him to sign something that he actually agrees with . . . like he''s offended by it! Yeesh! I would be very annoyed with him too!
Oops, yeah, I see that now! lol

FWIW, I''m so use to signing waivers (with kids & activities, it''s *constant*) that I don''t blink an eye over it. . .for others, (as Love Vintage said) it could come across as insulting.
 

tlh

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I''d sign the form. I understand the liability - since the company is PAYING you for your time volunteering... it really is an extension of the work day. WHAT A GREAT THING your compnay is doing. So if you want to be paid $$ for something that should be done for FREE (volunteer = unpaid) then sign the form. If you don''t want the $$ from your company, volunteer on your own wherever you want - and don''t sign the form.

Such a shame he has to put a negative spin on something sooo positive!
 

ChargerGrrl

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i would have no problem signing the form.

one of my fondest "company" memories was volunteering to build a playground in New Orleans. we were going for an industry confab, and those who volunteered got there a day early. i''ll never forget the look of shock and gratitude on those kids faces when we unveiled the finished playground. it took us 10 hours, but we turned an empty dirt field into a fabulous playground!
 

strmrdr

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It would depend on the wording if I would sign it or not.
I would be inclined to sign it unless there was something in there that I didn''t feel was right.
A simple release of liability no problem but anything beyond that no way.
 

bee*

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I''d definitely sign it. I don''t see what his problem is.
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 3/20/2009 4:53:04 PM
Author: Elmorton
Date: 3/20/2009 4:30:42 PM

Ditto. I think would sign because I think it''s a great program and I''d probably rather be helping someone than in the office...but I think the sticking point is that this really isn''t volunteerism but community service that you''re performing as part of your job (even though yes, you have a CHOICE to do it or stay in the office - but since it''s paid, it''s not really volunteering). So, since you are going to likely be in situations that could result in injury more easily than the office, it''s a little dirty for your company to ask you to waive rights, especially when they''re going to claim your work in their numbers. I agree with you both - I think it''s an awesome program, but like most things corporate, it''s a little underhanded, too.


Now, I volunteer all the time and often do sign away rights in case of injury, but that''s a little different because my employer isn''t paying me/considering this as part of my hours. I think of it as signing a waiver that I would do for darned near any recreational activity these days.
Ditto - it does seem a bit strange for me for the company to be asking employees to do that, although I''m guessing it wouldn''t hold up too well in court if someone really did get injured and could prove it was the company''s fault in some way. But I''m not a legal expert, by any means.

I do think it is crappy that he is complaining to others around the office. Is there a way you could send out/post a memo describing your feelings on the subject and/or the reasoning behind having people sign this, from the company''s perspective, as a way to encourage people to participate??
 

April20

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I would sign it with no hesitation whatsoever. It''s such a standard thing and nothing to make a big deal over IMO.
 

purrfectpear

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Well it seems silly because we''re all thinking of little annoyances like maybe a twisted ankle.

What if he had a heartattack? If I stroke out while I''m on company policy, I''m 100% covered, full medical, full workers comp benefits, 2x salary death benefit if I die.

Under the waiver, I''m out there dishing up lunch and ...uh oh, tough luck for me or my family (should have been at work that day I guess)


It''s not so black and white.
 

Kaleigh

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Date: 3/20/2009 5:43:57 PM
Author: purrfectpear
Well it seems silly because we're all thinking of little annoyances like maybe a twisted ankle.

What if he had a heartattack? If I stroke out while I'm on company policy, I'm 100% covered, full medical, full workers comp benefits, 2x salary death benefit if I die.

Under the waiver, I'm out there dishing up lunch and ...uh oh, tough luck for me or my family (should have been at work that day I guess)


It's not so black and white.
Yup, I get it. But have to say, my mind doesn't think like that. If I go to volunteer, I do so 100% mind body and spirit.

My mind may not work as your's does, but I do get your point. Just didn't think of it like that. I would hope the company could come up with a form that covers employees, etc.. Some kind of compromise? I dunno.
Kind of puts a damper on the whole giving back thing. Yanno?
 

meresal

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Thanks for the replies ladies. It''s nice to hear that many of you would sign. I actually think that many other companies in my business are offering programs llike this. Growing up I was very athletic and assume my future chilren will be as well. Signing waivers, for me, is almost as common as breathing.

PP- I definitely understand your rational. Like I said above, it''s a bit of a stretch for me to try and relate with a man that is 60 yrs old and nearing retirement. I just don''t think of heart attacks and things like that. Personally, I think that volunteering is great for my heart.


I guess the way I see it is like this-
I usually volunteer for free on my own time. So I think it''s great that my company is willing to pay us, and on commpany time. Though, for someone that doesn''t usually volunteer, this would not be their thinking.
 

AprilBaby

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I would sign without any second thought.
 
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