Can you discipline employees for committing adultery?
Wasn’t this covered in the Ten Commandments?
Two employees of the Pinellas County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office have paid the price for violating a unique policy that forbids workers from committing adultery.
Department officials discovered in December that radio operator Heather Clouser and Deputy John Bradshaw were engaged in an intimate relationship. Clouser’s husband came home early from work one day to find Bradshaw sleeping in his bed while his wife showered. He videotaped Bradshaw sleeping and submitted the tape to the department.
Sheriff Jim Coats said the relationship ran afoul of a regulation he issued in 2005 prohibiting romantic involvement between married employees and single employees. That both employees are married (although not to each other) was a technicality that did not dissuade Coats from reprimanding Clouser and suspending Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s discipline was officially for misuse of his agency vehicle—making an unauthorized stop at Clouser’s home.
The blanket adultery ban is unusual. Law enforcement agencies commonly have policies prohibiting romantic relationships between supervisors and subordinates or people who work in the same unit.