Yesterdays Oprah

Heres the summary, short and sweet.

A woman and her husband posted nude photos of her, on the internet. Subsequently both lost their jobs, becuase the company claims, this was a breach of their “at-will employment agreement”, or more plainly stated, the company simply doesnt agree or like their choice on how to use PERSONAL time at home.

Others came forward on the segment to decry this practice as well, in all I think 4 couples were shown, and many single people were spoken about who lost jobs for more reasons of misuse of PERSONAL time.

How do you all feel about a company telling you what you can and cannot do on your own time, and also being able to fire you for it?

Needless to say im against it of course. :slight_smile:

I sway with the wind and am forced (By the opinions of all other posters in any place you’ve posted) to say that the OP is a definite fraud because of the word choice. I mean, just look at this:

Just look at that comma placement!!

Only kidding, Mike. :slight_smile: I don’t watch Opera so have no idea if it was true. If it was, however, then here is my studied (made up on the spot) opinion:
Although it pains and galls me to admit it :wink: I’m constrained to agree with you, in that I think they shouldn’t have been fired for use of personal time. However, I also believe that a company can hire or fire people for their own reasons, moral being among them (racial I don’t agree with, and sex, and such). So I’m not to sure about it. I wouldn’t have fired them and would have invited them over for dinner. And maybe breakfast, but that’s me. :slight_smile:

I laughed, Oh my god, i laughed.

For once instead of feeling sick, I laughed, damn that was good.

Thank you Surgoshan.


It depends on a couple of things. Did they, I assume you mean the nurses as I have seen this story b4, sign a contract based on what they can and can’t do outside of the company time? If so, then the company is allowed to. If not, then I don’t think the “company” has a legal ground to stand on with current laws.

Oh and if a couple worked for a porno company and did stuff on the side, they might be violating company rules against competition.

Other than that, hey what a person does outside of work should be their own damn business. I take this stand with drugs too.

An office worker, for example, likes to enjoy the occasional toke on the weekends or after work hours. Come Monday morning that office worker may face termination because they still have THC in their systems, but never smoked during working hours. Their job does not entail heavy machinery, driving or other forms of potential harmful situations, but could still loose their job because of a no-tolerance policy company-wide.

That said, as I have posted my Libertarian agenda, I think the company should be able to fire, but they should know who they are hiring first. If I as a business owner didn’t believe in your religious views, I should be able to say “I am sorry, but I wont hire you.” Or, in this case if I were against porno material, and you worked for me, then okay yeah, I should be able to fire you.

Where I am going with this is, the free will of a company and the company’s owners to determine the type of people that are hired and fired. These are the people that help your company succeed or die.

Me, I could give a rat’s ass as to what people do on their private time and I could care less what most of their moral system is, but in a free society, we should as employers be able to run our companies in the way that suits our own belief and value systems.

It’s a catch 22. The employee can and should look for a company that is more than a paycheck but also offers you an environment in which you feel comfortable in.

I’ve seen this blather in a couple of threads today " a company can fire you for whatever reason they want." That is NOT true. It has to be documented and cannot be without cause. You cannot fire someone for hairstyle, skin color, or some inane comment they make on their own time at some dinner party.

Things are not what they seem to be; nor are they otherwise.
[lankavatara Sutra]

Actually, John John, that varies state to state.

In Colorado, which is an “at will employment” state, unless they have a contract you can fire any one for any reason except those legally protected (race, sex, marital status). This doesn’t mean the terminated employee won’t get paid unemployment - wrongful termination is still wrongful termination - which is why you do want documentation whenever possible, but if you are of the inclination, and don’t mind paying more on the unemployment insurance, you actually can fire people simply because you don’t like them, their hobby, hoew they spend their money - whatever.

A good example of this happening herein CO on a pretty regular basis is when MLK day protesters (neo-nazis) show up on the news whining about getting fired (again) after their bosses found out about their politics.

Most employment is “at-will,” John John, which means exactly what it sounds like: at the will of the employer (and, of course, of the employee as weel).

An employer can discharge an at-will employee for any or no reason, as long as it does not impinge upon a protected civil right. Race and religion are examples of protected civil rights.

See, eg., Bishop v. Wood, 426 U.S. 341 (1976) (an at-will employee has no “liberty interest” in a job that would be protected by the Due Process Clause); Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972) (untenured college teacher is at-will employee and can be fired without cause); Fibreboard Corp. v. Labor Board, 379 U.S. 203 (1964) (Employer impermissibly fired employees for engaging in union work, but could fire for cause).

There is an implied employment contract, in general, if the work is for a definite period of time, for example, or is limited or bounded in some other way. If you’re hired to re-write the user manual for version 2.1, then your job ends when the manual is done - you’re not an at-will employee. Obviously, if there is an explicit written contract, then you’re not an at-will employee either!

  • Rick

If the photos weren’t posted on the company web server, I wouldn’t see any problem. But that’s me.

However… The “At-will” employer and employee concept is in line with my thinking. There are myriad reasons that a company might think nekkid photos harm the company. Company X would loathe to have their clients see Ms. Albrect in Administration spread-eagle on the hood of a Cadillac. Company Y sure wouldn’t like the guys in Tech Support drooling over their supervisor’s oily frame. And termination seems harsh, but if I were Mr. Z (CEO of Company Z) and saw a photo of two of my employees protesting company policy in… graphic means… with the caption “Mr. Z F***ed me over!” they’d be out on their asses before they knew what hit them. Generally, I would imagine that more explicit pictures would be looked upon less favorably. As for soft-core, Dr. Laura Schlessinger isn’t out of a job. It depends on the circumstances and the company. If the couples in question thought they had a case they should be talking to an employment lawyer rather than Oprah.

I think everyone on talk shows are actors anyway. We’re an incredulous lot here.

Anyway, by my philosophy, anything internal a company thinks will harm them, directly or indirectly, they have the right to put an end to. Conversely, I don’t think a power-tripping manager should be able to fire someone of a differing religion or taste in music or clothes or haircut as long as it doesn’t hurt the company.

I hope my company doesn’t find the nekkid pictures of ME on the internet…

I didn’t see the Oprah show yesterday, but she has been doing some reruns, is that the same couple that the woman was a teacher, and some of her students had seen the internet ‘show’ of her and her husband?

If it is, what bugged me, was her flippant remark, that the site is posted’ explicit material’. That the students ‘ought not to have been there in the first place’.

Personally I don’t care if she wants a camera in her bathroom, since she thinks she is so fascinating, but if this is the same couple, it didn’t seem to bother her that her students MIGHT have a bit of time concentrating after seeing Teach, uh, doin’ the wild thing.

“Consider it a challenge…”

This is an issue I brought up in a post a few months ago; I was surprised to learn at that time from the (seeming) beehive of lawyers who post to this site that in fact an employer can pretty much fire you for any damn thing they please - except race, gender, and possibly religion.
Your employer can boot you for being, say, a member of the democratic party. They are allowed to can you for espousing a belief in the equality of the sexes, if they choose, even though they can’t fire you for being a member of a particular sex. They can show you the door for protesting the destruction of the rainforests, or giving to the wrong charity. All these even if you express such ideas or interests ONLY ON YOUR OWN TIME. Apparently legal protections of free expression only ensure that the government will let you speak; the rest of society has no obligation of tolerance.

I find this pretty disturbing, and a potentially serious undermining of the First Amendment rights I’d always taken for granted.

I just thought of a question, though. In states with employment-at-will systems, can state employees be terminated for such free expression? Or is that considered government infringement on the first amendment?

A recent case in Georgia: a lesbian that had been offered a job in the state District Attorney’s office found that job offer withdrawn after her supervisor learned she had gone through a public commitment ceremony with her partner.

She sued the state . . . she didn’t get her job back (the Supremes said it was okay to fire her, in fact) but she did collect some money, the state settled with her.

So I think the answer is the same; you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.

your humble TubaDiva
It’s the law!

The woman who was fired was a children’s counselor. One of the parents of a child she counseled called the agency and complained, citing this woman’s web site as the reason. The site included not only nude pictures of the counselor, but also of her and her husband engaging in sexual intercourse.

For the people who say it isn’t fair that a company can let you go for any reason or NO reason, keep some things in mind: 1) Most companies are begging for workers and I doubt they seek out reasons to unfairly fire someone; 2) “At will” employment extends to both the worker and the employer. A worker has the right to quit with no notice should he/she desire it. 3) If the company has knowledge of such a web site, and does nothing, then they open themselves to liability should Mr. or Ms. Porn Star be accused of doing something unsavory (e.g. sexual harrassment, rape) at work. 4) You have a right to freedom of expression. But you have no “right” to employment. So if you want to don your white sheet and march along Main Street waving a confederate flag, feel free. Or if you want to disrobe and display your nekkid pictures all over the internet, feel free. The government can’t arrest you and throw you in the clinker. But don’t be surprised if you find a pink slip in your in-box the next day.

Actions have consequences, people.

Having been fired with absolutely no notice primarily because the management decided to get rid of my boss and all the people who worked for him, I can tell you that they certainly can fire people for no reason at all. I got a month’s severance and ten minutes notice. I looked up all the legal avenues I could find, and there was none. I was out of there, simply because I took my boss’s side over the owner’s side in a dispute. Remind me not to do that again.

“The woman who was fired was a children’s counselor. One of the parents of a child she counseled called the agency and complained, citing this woman’s web site as the reason. The site included not only nude pictures of the counselor, but also of her and her husband engaging in sexual intercourse.”

Did the Mom enjoy veiwing the site - or was it just as an investigative move?? :slight_smile:

I was on a talk show once, and I am not a professional actor (except when I’m in court, of course ;)).

The question of “at-will” employment has been pretty well covered here, so I won’t belabor the point. I will note that it’s true that while they can fire you for no reason, they can’t fire you for the wrong reason. “The wrong reason” is generally based on race, religion, etc. “Whistleblowing” is generally protected, as well.

Somebody asked about state employees – government employee situations are totally different than the private work force, and they may indeed have to have “good cause” to fire you, at least once you are past a probationary period. These things vary from state to state, so if you’ve been fired
you might want to at least touch base a lawyer who specializes in employment law (BigIron where are you when we need you!) to see if you have any recourse.


Off-topic: Maybe not everyone on talk shows is an actor, but I’m betting you weren’t on Jerry Springer, Melin. Please say you weren’t.

Dojo. Casino. It’s all in the mind.

State employees do have more protection than private employees, as a general rule. Tuba, I think the reason the Georgia woman’s firing was allowed to stand was because having a same-sex partner is not considered a constitutional right. If she had been fired for being a Democrat the situation might well have been different.

::laughing, and hastening to reassure the Teeming Millions:: I promise, Neko, it wasn’t Jerry Springer! It was a local talk show, A.M. Los Angeles. My hubby, Eldest Son, and Middle Son were on, as they were doing a piece on “Mr. Mom” families and at that time my hubby was a stay-at-home dad. I had just discovered I was pregnant with Youngest Son, just a couple of days before.

Mickey Gilley (sp?), the entertainer, was on the show at the same time as we were, and we hung out in the waiting room (I forget what they call it) and had a friendly chat with him.

I took the day off from work after that – although we stopped at the office because we knew that the entire firm had gathered in the lunch room around the t.v. when we were on – and we went to a little shopping area in Glendale to a toy store (to pay off the bribe to Eldest Son, then 3 1/2, for his good behavior on the show!). As we were walking down the street some lady actually stopped us and, all excited, exclaimed that she recognized us, having seen us on t.v. that morning!

That was fun! We have it on tape, and occasionally drag it out (I was thirty pounds lighter then . . . :frowning: