Detroit's mayor says he wants citywide no fraternization policy - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Detroit's mayor says he wants citywide no fraternization policy

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By Taryn Asher
FOX 2 News Reporter


DETROIT -- As of now, Detroit has no official city policy about fraternizing with subordinates or co-workers, but according to Mayor Dave Bing, that could soon change.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee is retired now, but the damage has already been done.  The chief's alleged sexual relationships with underlings cost him his job and could cost the city if the women pursue legal action.

Mayor Dave Bing said Monday he now plans to implement a policy that would prevent fraternization in the future.

"I think that should be citywide, quite frankly, so I'll be meeting with human resources and probably the law department to put a policy in place.  There has never been a policy in place for fraternization, and I think that's part of the problem that we are confronted with today, so I want to do that on a citywide basis."

"It's surprising that there's not some sort of rule in place already," said labor attorney Sam Morgan.

He said a citywide policy would be difficult to police and enforce since it may violate an employee's constitutional right -- the freedom to associate.  But a rule that prevents fraternization between supervisors and subordinates, or at least forces them to disclose it, is mandatory.

He said the relationships almost always go sour putting the employer at risk, in this case the City of Detroit and Mayor Dave Bing because Bing even admitted he knew about some of Chief Godbee's past indiscretions with his employees and he still felt he was the best man for the job.

"When an employer knows or should have known that a manager, a supervisor, is sexually harassing a subordinate employee, there's pretty much automatic liability if they're not doing something about it," Morgan said.

Bottom line, Morgan said supervisors need to look for love in other places because more often that not it ends up in court, not marriage.

"All that can happen once you're a manager, once you start looking around the workplace for love, is trouble.  No matter how good you are.  No matter how effective you are in leading a police force."

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