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Can't separate private life and life in the workplace

Now is the winter of our hypocrisy. Feminists with laryngitis who still sport "I believe Anita Hill" bumper stickers from their battle against Clarence Thomas and Coke cans stand sullen but mute as Buckaroo Banzai Bubba's antics in the Oval Brothel unfold. Sundays bring the Rev. William Jefferson Dimmesdale to church with a Bible in one hand and Hillary's in the other, apparently a magical ritual that countermands sexual relations as a form of adultery.

But no greater hypocrisy can be found than in those who recite the inane phrase, "His private life is his business and doesn't matter."The hypocrisy of this private-life theorem is stunning. We, the voyeurs of Sally, Jenny, and Jerry, find privacy religion because of our taciturn leader's sexual chutzpah. Nude co-ed soccer on the South Lawn could get his approval ratings up to 90 percent. We, the founders of a public school curriculum that has our children writing autobiographies about cathartic Play-Doh encounters, suddenly preach privacy.

This silly rationalization flies in the face of the causes of misconduct at work. Embezzlers steal not for thrills or as retaliation for an oppressive boss (that produces shooting, not theft). Embezzlers steal because of personal bills, gambling fever or substance addiction.

Business people don the badges of fraud because of fear of losing what they have in their private lives. Success at work is feigned for conquests in private lives. The two are inextricably intertwined.

It is ironic that compartmentalized lives theory should emerge when we have spent the past 20 years making ever-beneficent employers feel our personal pain. Legislatively, we have required employers to make our private lives their business, or at least foot the bill so that our jobs don't cut into our problems. The Family Medical and Leave Act mandates up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employees who bare their souls to employers about illness, birth, or adoption. The very premise of the act is that employees burdened with personal challenges need time off because, the argument goes, such events impede performance at work.

Across the United States, there are judicial, legislative, and initiative battles to make sexual orientation a protected class in anti-discrimination laws. Sex lives apparently do matter in the workplace if one believes the hypocritical proponents of equality based on bedroom activities. An individual's private life is irrelevant, unless, of course, he happens to be a homosexual in which case that private fact will not only be revealed but will be a basis for employment rights.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is the confluence of private and work lives. An act, passed through the efforts of those with manifest physical disabilities with a deserved right of access to jobs and buildings, has become a shelter for ineffectual employees who use their personal demons and private lives as an excuse for shoddy job performance. Thirteen percent of all complaints filed with the EEOC under the ADA allege discrimination on the basis of emotional or psychiatric impairments. The EEOC guidelines on mental illness in the workplace caution employers to watch for "chronic lateness, poor judgment, lack of concentration and hostility to supervisors" as signs that an employee has a mental impairment.

Employers once looked at those three characteristics and said, "Loser. You're fired." Now, the employer is required to peer into the employee's life and psyche with Freudian analysis. One example the EEOC offers is that if an employee says he is "depressed and stressed," the employer must give time off, offer a job coach to help the employee or change the employee's work schedule to accommodate sleeping late.

Another EEOC example involves an employee who was coming to work in a disheveled state at a company with a dress code that emphasized neatness. After several warnings, the man was fired. The employer discriminated because the employee's depression caused his appearance problems. The ignoramus employer should have delved into the sloppy employee's private torment.

Medical insurance, child-care provisions and countless other requirements have made employers the protectors of our private lives based on the management principle that secure private lives enhance job performance. But the converse is also true: instability in our private lives negatively impacts job performance to such an extent that the law requires accommodation and protection from termination when private lives go awry.

However, there is a rather large exception to the private lives and employment principle. It is an exception evidenced in the polls and expressed in interviews of dolts on CNN. Adultery is private and has no impact on job performance. Unless of course it is serial adultery in which case there is a mental impairment which is an excuse for being late and ineffective at work. Mr. Clinton has both of those problems.

We, as his beneficent employers, and based on the EEOC guidelines, understand that it is our statutory duty to accommodate this poor troubled soul.