Hi, Two days back, I was invited to moderating a panel discussion. I was so excited, and I asked my boss for permission to join the same, but he refused, saying that I could not use the company name as it was not company-sponsored but rather personal. I told him, ok, I would not put my designation anywhere & then he agreed to let me go. The event was very successful, and everyone praised me. The organizers also handed over me a memento with my name & designation written. My boss is now saying that I have breached the policy as I have taken a memento where my designation with the company name is written.
What should I do now? How to make my boss understand.

Please help.

From India, Patna
Dinesh Divekar

Dear member,

Lately, employers encourage the involvement of senior managers in the social activities you mentioned. The seniors are encouraged to write articles in the newspapers, give interviews to the media, be involved in panel discussions and so on. This is because it helps promote the employer's brand. The employer's brand, in turn, helps attract the talent. Now far from taking benefit of the branding, your company wishes to keep the persona of the seniors under the cloak. Very strange!

Now coming to the incident in which you are involved. Your senior prohibited you from attending the event but later permitted you to attend it under the condition that you would not disclose your designation. You say that before the closure of the event you were given a memento, and your name and designation were inscribed on it. But how did your senior come to know about the memento? Did you show him? If yes, then why did you do it? I wish you had kept the issue of memento under wraps. Did you invite trouble because of your unwanted openness?

Anyway, now we can't undo what has happened. You say that your senior gave you consent to become a panellist. Was it written consent or verbal?

If your senior says that you breached the policy, then please read the policy and identify which clause of the policy was breached. Don't apologise soon. Your outright apology may create a problem for you. Try to build some defence. If you feel that the tide could turn against you then as a last resort, express your regret. If the regret also does not work, then apologise.

At this stage, the advice given above is sufficient. By chance, if the company authorities wish to take disciplinary action or raise a charge sheet, then come back to this forum. We will see what to do next.

In the meantime, the other senior members of this forum will also give their views.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

As Dinesh Divekar has rightly said, you only have invited the problems by publishing the memento or taking the memento to your office. Now coming to the legal side, I would say that if nowhere in the panel discussion your identity as an employee of the organisation where you work is not mentioned, the employer cannot initiate a disciplinary action against you. The memento carrying your designation and organisation name is just an address.There can be personal letters or parcels coming to your office, right? Did anyone say that your personal articles should not be delivered at office address. It is implied that we can do it because it does not mean that you are misusing any facility. it is true that in establishments which cater to defense and security of nation would have such restrictions.

Again, is there any clause that you should not take your official identity card to your place of residence? Normally, we all wear it while we visit banks and other places for personal matters while on duty. It is not that we take it off when we go out. is it that you are banned from writing your designation and company name in your children's school records? Certainly Not. Then by putting your identity by your organisation's name on a momento should not be a serious issue. Sure, if you have said something negative about the present system of employment or HR culture or bad climate prevailing in the private establishment, then that can be taken as an incident warranting disciplinary action. In your case, the show went good and everyone appreciated you. The management should be happy that without cost they have been recognised through you. Therefore, there is nothing illegal but only personal or jealous of some of your peers is the reason for all these.

From India, Kannur


It seems like there might be a miscommunication or misunderstanding between you and your boss. To address the situation and make your boss understand, consider taking the following steps:

Clarify the Initial Agreement:
Remind your boss of the initial agreement where you assured him that you wouldn't use the company name or your designation. Emphasize that you adhered to this agreement during the panel discussion.

Explain the Circumstances:
Provide context about how the memento was presented to you by the organizers. Explain that you did not actively seek out a memento with your company designation and that it was given to you by the event organizers.

Highlight Positive Feedback:
Share the positive feedback and praise you received from the event. Emphasize that your participation reflected positively on the company and its employees.

Emphasize Personal Recognition:
Stress that the memento is a personal recognition for your contribution to the panel discussion and not a deliberate attempt to breach company policies.

Propose a Resolution:
Suggest a solution or compromise that aligns with company policies. This could involve removing or covering up any mention of the company name and designation on the memento if possible.

Apologize if Necessary:
If there was any oversight on your part, express genuine apologies for any unintentional breach of company policy. Assure your boss that it was not your intention to cause any issues.

Seek a Private Meeting:
Request a private meeting with your boss to discuss the matter in detail. This allows for a more in-depth conversation where you can address concerns and provide additional information.

Reiterate Your Commitment:
Reassure your boss of your commitment to the company's policies and that you value the guidelines in place. Emphasize that you want to work together to find a resolution that satisfies both parties.

Hence. to approach the conversation with a calm and professional demeanor. Clear communication and understanding are key to resolving such issues amicably.


From India, Bangalore
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