My question is, if an employee goes and gets married or is going through a divorce or even gets a DUI and spends the weekend in jail, is it the employee's obligation to tell the employer or is a private life separate from a work life? 

What is work ethic?

What makes an employee loyal to you?

I had this very discussion last night, only to walk away from the table agreeing to disagree. So what are your thoughts and opinions?

Thanks for responding,
GLS

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If they work somewhere that they need to hold a gov security clearance. They will find out soon enough once they have to do a backround check, they may need to tell but this is not tell or don't tell it is hard and you will have many post i am sure, cant wait to read.
Thanks, I am looking forward to read on as well. This is not a job where a security clearance is warranted.
As to marriage, divorce: The two most distracting things that people do as related to their jobs. Almost impossible to keep to themselves. Due not only to the emotion involved but also to things like changing the number of dependents on their W-4, insurance, and time off from work required in both situations. Probably best to tell the immediate supervisor to clear any time off requirements in advance. If a divorce is relatively unemotional keeping the details private and the emotion in check is best. If it's emotional make every effort to keep the crap out of the workplace but discuss with your supervisor without gory details. Most bosses are empathic when employees are going through emotional situations if the employee is making an effort to maintain "business as usual" in the office.

Arrested for a DUI and a weekend in jail. If an employee has a company car or drives company vehicle as part of their job, better report it as it impacts company insurance and will be picked up by whoever monitors the driving record and insurance for the company. If not i would suggest keeping that one personal.

What is work ethic? Taking the attitude that one's job is treated as if it were their own private business that will succeed or fail based on their individual effort. Doing not just the least required to get by but doing what is expected and looking for ways to increase productivity or profit with individual and team effort.

Employee loyalty in my opinon is generated and maintained by reasonable pay for the work done but most often by recognition for a job well done or praise for an accomplishment and a "thank you, you are doing a great job" at the end of a long hard day or even the end of a good day. "Good Job" goes a long, long way toward generating and maintaining loyalty as well as, "You seem to be struggling, what can i do to help". Concern and Praise many times overcome even a lower pay scale than the average.
My gut tells me anything that limits an individual's ability to be at work or successfully execute their obligations to the company would be a conversation between the individual and their HR person and/or manager. Goes without saying, all that confidential information shared should fly under the radar insofar as 'other' employees are concerned.

What is work ethic? Well I guess you have to define that individual's moral standard. Seems a bit vague that one, but it's been in my limited experience that everyone has a different expectation or application of moral fortitude. Will they run into a burning house to accomplish the mission? Is good enough or operating within their limitations their standard?

A token 'loyalty' trait I've looked for in past subordinates is their ability to execute the mission to enhance unit capability without supervision. Are they doing the right thing for their team despite the presence of recognition? ...selfless determination? Loyalty can play into the ethics piece as well: are they elevating their subordinates to their higher operating standard? Do they hold themselves accountable? Loyalty is but one of many-many leadership traits.

All in all, discretion and good management will help navigate those sensitive situations, and for the sake of the individual, I hope their managers are morally courageous enough to have their folks best interest at heart, at all times, and without resolve.
I think I would be more concerned with my employment and my relataionship with my boss if I were going through any of these things and it wasn't noticed. How much of a relationship do you have with your boss if they don't notice some life changing event going on like marriage or divorce? Now - DUI / weekend in jail...if it doesn't effect my ability to do my job it's none of their business if you ask me.

But as to the personal life changine events (marriage, divorce, having kids, etc...) I think that it should definitely be open discussions with your boss/coworkers you trust about it. Hiding things of such an important nature would probably be a poor decision since these things almost inevitably will effect your job performance at least at 1st.
I would first say that anything that can effect the company, you have an oblation to disclose. Are you talking about an employee confiding in a manager or co-worker, as you printing it int he company newsletter? With exception to what I first stated, I think it is up to the employee if they wish to discuss it with their employer, as individual relationships and corporate culture vary greatly among firms.

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