HR Strange But True!
February 09, 2006

The Pinellas County, Florida, sheriff has issued a new commandment to his employees: Thou shalt not commit adultery -- at least not with a colleague.

The policy bans the sheriff's 3,000 employees from having adulterous relationships with co-workers. It applies both to single and married employees, and is the first such policy among Tampa Bay's large law enforcement agencies.

"I felt it was necessary to make it clear to the members of our agency that we have a moral image and obligation to the public," Sheriff Jim Coats told the St. Petersburg Times. "If we openly allow it, what kind of example does that set?"

Violations of the policy are comparable to associating with criminals or accepting gratuities, with punishments ranging from written reprimands to three-day suspensions.

Such workplace regulations have become increasingly common as employers try to shape the private lives of employees, Wayne A. Hochwarter, associate director of Florida State University's Center for Human Resource Management, told the Times.

"In the next five years, there's going to be a lot more intrusive kind of things happening," Hochwarter said.

Nearby law enforcement agencies haven't shown any eagerness to follow Pinellas County's lead. They say their codes of conduct are sufficient, demanding that officers live in a way that would not discredit the agency.

The Clearwater Police Department's code of ethics, which all officers sign, contains the line, "I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all."

"Yes, that is a subjective phrase, but I believe every officer that signs it understands its scope," Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor told the Times.

Source: St. Petersburg Times Online

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