Richard Nelson

How much should your employer care about your private life?

In policy on 2015 February 10 Tuesday at 20:26:44

I’m working through this, so don’t consider what follows my last word.

I think the general principle is that your employer shouldn’t care about your private life so long as it doesn’t undermine your work. Even in a secular organization your employer might care somewhat: if you’re a mailroom clerk then your ardent advocacy of leather fetishes and S&M to the bounds of criminal law or whatever are not of much moment to your employer. If you’re like me and represent the firm to clients than it might matter, at least a bit.

If you work for a religious organization, tho’, and public aspects of your private life—e.g., your marital status—go against that organization’s principles, then courts seem to be finding that your employer can care; that , in effect, you’ve violated the terms of your employment.

It may seem odd that an ardent secularist such as myself, someone that holds to no religion, would support the right of, e.g., a Catholic school board to demand its teachers not be divorced; but that’s where, so far, I’m drawing the line between public and private rights.

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