I have been working for a manufacturing company in Nairobi as a procurement officer for the last two years. Last week, however, my boss announced that starting January the company will be conducting lifestyle audits on all its employees.
Is this legal and I’m I compelled to give my boss access to my bank details and details on my side hustle?
I don’t want the fact that I have a business to hurt my chances of retaining the job.
In the last few months, lifestyle audits have become a sort of trend, especially in the public sector because of the rampant increase in corruption. This has been welcomed by many Kenyans and some private companies are also looking to implement the same.
First, it is not legal for employees in private firms to be subjected to lifestyle audits unless the company provides a good reason as to why they want to implement one such as in cases of fraud or theft of company money.
However, there are circumstances in which it is completely okay for the employer to ask for an audit on its employees.
In cases of fraud or misuse of company resources
When an organization is trying to curb misuse of company property or theft, they are legally within their right to conduct lifestyle audits on its employees.
For example, as procurement official if the suppliers complain about the process of choosing suppliers, the company can decide to investigate the claim by looking at your finances to see if you might be benefiting from the tenders you give.
If it is part of the company policy
Some organizations conduct lifestyle audits on employees as part of the company policy. In such an instance, you have no option but to agree to them or refuse the job offer.
The same applies to employees already working in the company, if it is introduced as accompany policy then you have to comply or risk losing your job.
You can only lose your job if;
Your business is a conflict of interest
For example, if you are working at Bata and your side hustle is a shoe store. In such a case the employer will feel like you could be working to sabotage the company while you build your own.
You are a non-performer
If you have not been performing well at your job yet the business you have is thriving, the employer might assume that you are spending all your time and effort on building your business as opposed to doing your job.
All in all, if you have not been stealing from the company and don’t have anything to hide then the audit will not have an impact on your job.
If you have nothing to hide, then you should not really be worried, having a side hustle is not grounds for termination; your boss cannot fire you without a good reason.