My UK employer has teamed up with a large well-known charity, and over the last few years undertaking voluntary work for this charity has become a core part of our performance objectives.

If we don't do this work, then our performance is marked down which can result in a lower performance grade if other areas of our work is lacking. This in turn could place an employee in a category where their job is at risk as they are judged as being an underperformer, and similary if this voluntary work is not completed it can prevent an employee reaching a higher grade.

The performance grade also has a direct link to salary increases and bonus.

The voluntary work is with children, and although I have children myself I do not feel comfortable in a school setting. In short, I do not want to do this.

Yes, it is admirable that our company has paired up with this charity, but as you can probably infer I am not happy being forced to take part, or that my overall work performance is judged on whether I do this 'voluntary' work.

So to my question. Is what they are doing legal?

  • Is this "Voluntary" work expected to be done inside regular working hours or additionally? Commented May 10, 2019 at 11:31
  • @motosubatsu - Within working hours
    – Stamp
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 11:40
  • Perhaps offer to do non-client work for the charity--office work, promotion, etc?
    – mkennedy
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 23:04

1 Answer 1


As you state in comments that this is to be carried out during working hours I think the answer is most likely that yes they can use this to affect your performance scoring. Most UK employment contracts will have a "flexibility clause" that says something about being required to carry out "other duties as assigned" there's a certain amount of "reasonableness" that has to be considered which will depend on how different the duties are from your "actual" job but that would be determined by a judge/tribunal (if it got that far).

If your contract has got no such clause they would have a tough time making you do this or firing you for non-compliance.

That said since (if I'm reading your post correctly) not doing this voluntary work is not in of itself enough to put your job at risk - instead it merely prevents you reaching higher grades and receiving bonuses etc. then they are well within their legal rights to do this. It doesn't sound as if you are being singled out (which could be considered "cruel and unusual") either.

  • Employer’s have a common law right to have their employees follow “lawful and reasonable” directions even in the absence of such a clause
    – Dale M
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 20:58

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