Thursday, May 10, 2007

Accused of Conflict of Interest on the Job

I work for a nonprofit. I also run a successful business, which is a well known company. I have been promoted by this company to Director with a car that I drive to my full-time job at the nonprofit. Everyone there knows I do my other business so every time something goes wrong at work, they bring up the other business as if to say I am doing that instead of what they pay me to do.

I have been written up once and have since watched the things I do to ensure that I do not do what I was accused of. Well, a situation came up with my supervisor that I thought was finished but she decided to write a memo to be given to the boss. I did not agree with it nor did I sign it. Should I write a rebuttal to prove my point or is it a lost cause?
-- Lost without a clue

by Marc Effron, VP, Talent Management, Avon Products

Hi Lost – The answer to your problem seems relatively straightforward. Your outside employment should not be relevant in this case, unless your employer has rules against co-employment (holding two jobs at the same time).

What seems to be missing from your full-time job are clear performance standards. Do you have a job description and/or performance goals for the year? If so, these should dictate how you and they evaluate your performance. If you are performing up to the expectations listed in those documents, anything you do outside of work is not relevant.

If you don’t have clear standards for your performance, it’s important that you quickly come to an agreement with your full-time employer about this. Ask your supervisor to provide you with a job description, performance goals/standards or both. If things are “going wrong” at work, you need to do this quickly.

Whether you write or don’t write a rebuttal is something you’ll need to decide. You might want to consider consulting an attorney who specializes in personnel issues before you do this.

I hope that helps and good luck!

Marc Effron is Vice President, Talent Management for Avon Products. He has authored two books (including Leading the Way) and numerous articles about leadership. He is a frequent speaker at industry events.

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
In his post, How Are You Dealing with Workplace Conflict, Steve Roesler talks about three types of workplace conflict and what to do in each case. Here’s an excerpt I liked:
…ask [your boss] about your results. If you have a wrong perception of how you are doing, this is the time to get it on the table. If your boss tells you your results are good, then your boss will hopefully have an Aha! moment regarding your contributions.
The worst that can happen? You'll find out sooner, rather than later, that this isn't a place you want to be over the long run.

Job Lounger, do you have a question? Email ( it to me and I’ll post your question and an expert’s answer here in The Job Lounge.

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