Can my job require me to do community service?

Someone I know works for a large, private bank. A directive recently came down mandating that all employees must perform 12 hours of community service annually, to take place during normal business hours. While I know institutions encourage employees to volunteer, I have never heard of it being mandatory. Is this legal? Can they force someone to perform work outside their job description?

Job description? What’s that? Very few people today have formal, narrowly defined job descriptions and even if they do, employers usually include a line to the effect of “and any other duties as assigned by the Company.”

Regardless, the company can require such service, particularly if it is part of the company culture, mission and values. Noble intentions aside, if the community service is limited to regular company work hours — and you aren’t having your pay docked for time out of the office (which would make even Scrooge shudder) — then it is definitely within the company’s legal right to require it as part of your job.

An exception would be if the community work conflicts with your protected rights, such as those relating to religion, race or sexual orientations and the like, and you would find it offensive. Otherwise, open your heart and appreciate that the employer places importance on such activities.