Posing and publishing nude photos can go “really right or really wrong.” For Kim Kardashian and Jenny McCarthy, such conduct provided public exposure that led to fame and celebrity status. But it could be costly for continued employment outside the entertainment industry.
Jessica Zelinske applied and received an offer to pose for Playboy’s Housewives issue. Just like the Housewives on many of Bravo’s reality series, Ms. Zelinske actually worked. She alleges that prior to accepting Playboy’s offer, she received a promise from her direct supervisor at Charter Communications that posing for the magazine would not affect her employment. Shortly after publication, however, her employment was terminated.
Christy Deweese may suffer the same fate for a spread taken in 2011. Students discovered the first year high school teacher’s nude pictures online. While the school district has yet to issue a statement, several parents have begged for her removal arguing she will not be respected by young boys and should not be a role model for young girls.
So should these ladies be protected for a personal decision to expose it all outside the workplace? Charter Communications claim Ms. Zelinske violated its “common decency and conduct” policy provided to her in the Employee Handbook. Therefore it implies that to some degree she knew it dictated her conduct outside employment if she wanted to remain employed. For teachers, some states require cause or “due process” for public employees prior to a termination decision. But that just means there is a vehicle to contest the potential termination.
To the generation consumed with public exposure through social media, this is perhaps another reminder that posting questionable content now can affect future employment later.