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Management article
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Reference no. 88109
Authors: Terry Leap
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 1988

Abstract

When an employee is discovered indulging in unorthodox, immoral or criminal behavior while off duty, can the employer discipline or fire the person? What are the rights of the company, and what are the rights of the worker? The company may argue that its reputation has suffered but unless it can prove a clear link between the off-duty conduct and the job, it will lose its case. The worker''s life away from the workplace is protected constitutionally by a right to privacy and a right to associate freely with others. An unorthodox, questionable, or even immoral private life is usually no grounds for disciplinary action.

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Abstract

When an employee is discovered indulging in unorthodox, immoral or criminal behavior while off duty, can the employer discipline or fire the person? What are the rights of the company, and what are the rights of the worker? The company may argue that its reputation has suffered but unless it can prove a clear link between the off-duty conduct and the job, it will lose its case. The worker''s life away from the workplace is protected constitutionally by a right to privacy and a right to associate freely with others. An unorthodox, questionable, or even immoral private life is usually no grounds for disciplinary action.

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