Abstain from alcohol, tobacco, gambling and profanity or face possible loss of employment at Kenneth Copeland Ministries/Eagle Mountain International Church.
That’s according to a new code of honor an estimated 500 employees are being asked to sign at a Thursday meeting.
The employees have three options: sign the code; ask for help to adhere to the new code; or not sign and voluntarily resign by March 12.
The new code obtained by WFAA also requires employees to adhere “to the biblical model of sexual purity, refraining from any use of pornography and from participation in any form of sexual conduct outside the confines of marriage.”
The agreement is part of an attempt to “recruit and retain employees who, as a matter of standard practice, live consistent with biblical principles as interpreted by the Ministry…”
A former employee said the new code encroaches on individual liberties, and is especially troubling to employees who have worked at the ministry for 10 or more years.
“The difference between this new code and the prior code is that it interferes with one’s personal life,” one former employee told WFAA. “Under this code, an employee cannot even have a glass of wine in their home. There is nothing biblical about not drinking wine.”
Also, she was troubled by the code’s reference to sexual purity.
“People’s sexuality should not be an issue,” the former employee said. “To come into a binding contract about a person’s sexuality crosses the line.”
Another former employee when reached for comment said she recalled signing a code of conduct in 2000.
“However, it was not that explicit,” the former employee said. “There was nothing specific in the original hiring agreement that prohibited me from drinking or asked for sexual purity.”
She said the new code may be a way to get longer-term, better-paid employees to quit, or get fired later.
“I see this as a means of forced attrition to reduce payroll costs,” she said.
Codes of conduct are not unusual for religious organizations, according to several attorneys with knowledge of employee discrimination laws.
Both attorneys said religious organizations have broad exemptions in the hiring and firing of employees based on mandatory codes of conduct.
WFAA called Kenneth Copeland Ministries/Eagle Mountain International Church, and their representative declined comment on the new code.