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My employer is requiring me to fill out a "Disclosure Form" which provides them with information such as additional sources of income (such as investments) and other employment.

I feel this is a breach of privacy, so I spoke to human resources, and their response was that the information is required to determine whether a conflict of interest exists.

While I can understand an employer's need to determine if I am working for a competitor or otherwise creating a conflict of interest, I do not feel that my personal finance or investments is any of their business.

To whom should I talk in order to determine the appropriate information to disclose? I feel I've exhausted internal company resources and need to turn to outside help.

I am asking this question on behalf of another person, employed in the state of Utah, USA.

  • the IRS needs to know... – ratchet freak May 19 '13 at 18:33
  • @ratchetfreak The IRS can't potentially use this information against you when it comes to raises or bonuses, an employer can. – maple_shaft May 19 '13 at 19:57
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    I think the only correct answer that can be given here is to consult a lawyer that specializes in employment law to find out if firing somebody for not disclosing secondary sources of income is legal. Most law offices will give you a free first time consultation. – maple_shaft May 19 '13 at 20:03
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    @maple_shaft You do not need a lawyer to answer every question just because there is a legal component to it. there are legal components to everything. As long as the question does not ask for specific legal advice or to evaluate the legality of a specific action (this is a general action, a specific action is my employer wants me to fill out 101-a to disclose X what happens if i lie?) then it is fine. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 20 '13 at 1:50
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    Some businesses have to deal with regulatory agencies like the SEC or may deal with military contracts. They also don't want any conflicts with intellectual property rights. – user8365 May 20 '13 at 21:46
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It's quite legitimate - most places I've worked have requested some of this information in one format or another.

If you want to know what's legal to ask - see a lawyer. We can't answer this here.

I can say, I've been asked this sort of information for a number of reasons, and the specifics I was asked for usually connected to the concern of the company. For example:

  • Investments - the concern is usually whether you hold stock or have another close financial relationship with an organization that gives you a conflict of interest. For example, shares in a supplier company could cause you to influence the company to make more purchases at the supplier than from its competitors - against the company's best interest. This usually includes your spouse or others with whom you are financially connected. It typically is asked as a question, not as a flat out listing. If your investments are all groupings - like mutual funds - you can usually just describe that. I'd be surprised if you asked for numbers.

  • Work - it's fair to ask who you're working for and what you're doing. Typically this is from the perspective of conflict of interest and intellectual property. I've also seen this asked from a "does the person have time?" perspective, particularly in a part-time model. They have the right to ask this, and to ask for a listing of exactly what companies, how much time it takes, and how long you expect the engagement to last.

I'd be surprised if any of the questions expected to hear specific monetary information.

Privacy -

It's all a privacy issue. Your work history, education, home address, phone/email - all of this is personal information that you wouldn't give to just anyone. They can always ask. You can always say no.

The question is a total judgement call - if you won't answer the question, they have the right to hire someone who will. So the final call is - how bad do you think it will be if you don't answer?

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    It is possible that this is a government required disclosure. Some times with certain government contracts or industries anyone involved with the company is required to disclose certain things. One of the is the insurance industry. I have to disclose 100% of my income every year on a special form and itemize where it came from. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 20 '13 at 1:53
  • Yeah - that's why I went with "usually" - there's exceptions... although in all my time working as a govt. contractor, and in quasi-govt. work, I've never had to give numbers for income. Just had to be comprehensive. – bethlakshmi May 20 '13 at 13:08
  • It happens if you work in a regulated field like insurance, banking, stock trading, or where certain security clearances are required. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 20 '13 at 13:14
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If you are looking for a job to work part time with your current full time job I would recommend having a brief meeting first with you're boss. Even if you have made them aware of working it may still be seen in a bad light. There are some important factors to remember when approaching this situation as well as understanding why they need to know.

Know Why Your Company is Worried

Employers typically don't see any advantages to their employees working side jobs, but it can be beneficial for both employer and employee, stimulating creativity, motivation, and new ideas. The key is to keep the focus on your current position:

Put the company first.

Most employers want to hear that you'll continue to put your job at their company first. Assuage your manager's concerns by letting her know you won't work at your second job during office hours and that you'll still be able to work overtime during periods of heavy work. Show your commitment to your current position as a priority.

Lay out how you'll remain effective.

Your boss doesn't want you to be overwhelmed and fatigued just because you're working multiple jobs, so lay out the strategies that will allow you to remain just as effective as you are now. Don't talk about the new job; discuss how you'll continue to rock your current one.

Keep quiet about confidential information. A small number of companies will be concerned that you'll leak confidential, in-house information, particularly if your side job is utilizing the same skills that your existing job does. If you can't get permission to work in the same vertical, try a side job in a different arena all together.

Act as a good representative.

What you do off-hours can seem like none of your employer's business, but it is, especially if what you're doing could be deemed offensive to your employer's customers. Make sure that whatever side job you choose won't put you in an awkward position with any of your company's clients, partners, or customers.

These tips should get quick approval to take on the side job. It may also give the person in question an insight into why the company may be interested in this information.

  • You may want to modify this answer - the question has been edited and no longer mentions side jobs. – GreenMatt May 21 '13 at 19:54
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I've worked for auditing agencies, for government contractors, held a security clearance, and worked in a highly regulated industry. This type of request is ordinary in those industries and necessary because of the potential for insider trading and conflict of interest particularly if the job has fiduciary responsibilities or access to protected information. Failure to disclose is often a firing offense.

There is an accounting concept called internal controls. This means that they seek to prevent problems by reducing the risk by having particular processes in place. This is an internal control. If you have a financial stake in a competitor, you are a risk to the company. If your spouse works for the same people that you buy supplies from, you may be paying more for them in order to make the spouse look good and thus harming the company. If you have a part-time job as an exotic dancer or building porn sites, you could embarrass the company.

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