(Alleged) Rogue Employee of the Week – the Case of the Porn Star Teacher

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Discrimination, Hiring and Firing, Rogue Employees

I promise not all of these will be about sex, but I like to get people’s attention, so I’m sticking with the salacious stories again this week. Most of us in the Boston area have heard about the local school teacher who was discovered to have allegedly been a gay porn actor on the side. This doesn’t make him a bad person or even a bad teacher, but his background did bring negative publicity to his employer. Google “Malden teacher, porn actor” and you’ll get a lot of hits.

The takeaway here is that, in the internet age, anything that employees do can be easily discovered by anyone, including the media (the local news media uncovered this story). Employers have to be mindful of this, and have to remind their employees to be mindful of this. Careful employers search employment candidates on the internet before hiring, and more extensive background checks can also be done. While doing that can, theoretically, create legal exposure, many employers are willing to take that risk. Most employers want to just run their business and avoid controversy. That doesn’t always mean that you can automatically fire or refuse to hire an employee based on some information found in the internet. Take the above example, if the teacher ends up being fired, he could potentially have claims for discrimination, because sexual orientation is a protected class in Massachusetts (I’m not saying he would win, just that he has a potential claim). When you have any question, check with your employment attorney before making a hiring or firing decisions based on an internet or background check, or call me at 617.338.7000.

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