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Comforting Employee
November 18, 2021

Handling Immorality in The Workplace

We are all human beings who are capable of destructive behavior. We can choose to ignore people’s bad attitudes and actions outside of our circles of influence, but it’s an entirely different story for the team members we lead. We must know how to manage an employee who behaves immorally or outside the standards of the company.


We are so blessed and honored to serve alongside some truly great team members. However, over the years, my team and I have had personnel challenges with employees drinking on the job (and driving our trucks), engaging in inappropriate behavior, and lying.


It’s challenging to deal with an employee who misbehaves, but it has to be done. And I think if we handle these situations while aligning with God’s Word, they can turn into opportunities to grow the individuals, grow us as leaders and as a company.


There are several ways leaders can choose to handle poor behavior by an employee on the job.

  • We can ignore it and hope it goes away, but that ends up just “kicking the can” down the street until the situation gets too bad to ignore.
  • We can choose to outright fire the employee and quickly move on. If the behavior is bad enough, this can sure seem like a tempting option.
  • I’ve also heard of managers who make work-life miserable for people they no longer want to employ, hoping that the person will quit. In my opinion, this is a dishonest approach that does nothing but create distrust and bad morale.


I believe there’s a better way for Christ-followers like us.


God is holy, and He doesn’t compromise. Yet, at the same time, He is compassionate and forgiving. He is faithful to His Word, and His character never changes.


God has called us to follow His example when we interact with people.


As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

1 Peter 1:16 MSG


So what does that look like? How can we as Christ-followers deal with immorality and bad behavior in the workplace in a way that pleases God?


First, be clear and upfront about expectations.


As Christians, we can know what God expects from us as we study His Word. He’s provided a blueprint for living, so we don’t have to guess what His expectations are as a loving Father who wants the best for us.


In the same way, we can’t expect employees to read our minds and automatically make sound judgments that align with our expectations. It’s essential to make sure everyone understands the company policies. We use job descriptions, culture training, and All-Staff Meetings to communicate our workplace expectations at our company. God’s Word is the foundation for our beliefs and behavior. While we don’t insist that all employees adopt our faith-based beliefs, we expect a wholesome, family-friendly environment in our offices and worksites. We make that clear through direct communications.


Acknowledge your imperfection while modeling holiness.


I have to be careful to remember I am still on my own journey to becoming more like Jesus. I am still growing and must be quick to acknowledge my mistakes. But I still have to progress faster than our staff and our leaders so I can lead them to where I’ve been. It’s a genuine process of loving Christ and people and wanting them to see something different in me. Not because I’m telling them about it, but because they’re seeing it in me.


I had an interesting conversation with our son about six months ago. We were just talking about life, and I asked him what was most challenging about our relationship. He said that sometimes, he doesn’t know who he’s talking to when he is talking to me. He said, “Dad, you have to understand when I was young, you were a completely different person than you are today. You don't live the same life in the same way with the same standards that you did back then. So sometimes my brain has to catch up to how you now live your life.”


It was a good conversation, but it was also humbling and challenging. I have to remember it’s been a years-long journey to come this far, and I’m still on my way as I continue to allow the Lord to transform me.


Let the correction (punishment) fit the situation (or crime).


God’s Word shows us how Jesus always leads with love, justice, and righteousness. So I am constantly reminding myself and my leaders to lead in the same way with employees, customers, and vendors.


No two situations are the same. That’s a fact of life.


For example, we will deal with an employee who sends an inappropriate email to others in the company one time differently than someone we find out has been habitually viewing pornographic content on their company computer on company time. The same goes for someone who steals a stapler vs. someone who steals from petty cash. Of course, all bad behavior needs to be corrected, but it all doesn’t deserve termination.


But here’s where leading with love, justice, and righteousness comes in. No matter how immoral someone’s behavior is, and even when it deserves immediate termination, God wants us to do everything with love and justice as we aim to be in right standing with people and God. So even when we must end someone’s employment, we can still have God-given compassion to offer support.


We have had several times when we’ve arranged a leave of absence while an employee attends a rehabilitation facility. Some of our best relationships, employees, and stories come out of these challenging situations. When someone is teachable and hasn’t crossed that termination line, we are honored to come alongside and get them the help they need. God has called us to lead, not just be a boss.


You never know when you can change a life. And in the end, isn’t that why we’re here?


As Christ-followers, we value people and extend grace as often and as freely as possible.


I found this article inspiring: How do we live in light of God’s holiness?


Have compassion and show mercy. Be “Jesus with skin on” to those who work for you. Represent Him well and offer help and guidance whenever possible. We can confront bad behavior while helping people experience grace and redemption in the process.

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