Pinellas Sheriff to employees: Get a DUI, get fired - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas Sheriff to employees: Get a DUI, get fired

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Pinellas Sheriff's Office employees will now be fired if they are convicted of a DUI. Pinellas Sheriff's Office employees will now be fired if they are convicted of a DUI.
LARGO, FL (WFLA) -  Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri sent a letter to his employees Monday warning them that a DUI would be automatic grounds for dismissal.

In the past, an employee convicted of DUI could be subjected to a range of disciplinary action, from suspension for seven days to firing.
"There is an easy solution to avoid any consequence of this new policy--- don't drive while impaired," said Gualtieri.

While many companies have broad policies dealing with DUI convictions that occur during a worker's personal time, some, like the sheriff, take a stronger stand.

Tom Carey is a Clearwater attorney who specializes in personal injury.  He lost his wife in 1983, six months after their wedding, when a drunk driver hit and killed her. Since then, he's kept a strict DUI policy at his office.

"I felt it was consistent with our policy. We couldn't have people working here that violated our policy against DUI. We represent a lot of DUI victims, probably 5000 over the years," said Carey.

It's also legal for a company to make a DUI conviction, grounds for firing. Carey explained that Florida is an "at will" work state and employers can set parameters for hiring and firing employees, as long as they are reasonable. 

Carey approves of the sheriff's stand and believes other agencies may take a closer look at it.

"The sheriff's office is in a leadership role in the fight against drunk driving and I applaud Sheriff Gualtieri for his efforts. I think it's a good move", said Carey.


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