That's What She Said

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Here is an interesting one. Earlier this week, the mayor of a small town in Oregon was fired after the town learned that there were pictures on the Internet of their esteemed leader posing in front of a fire truck in a black lace bra and panty set. The photographs were taken before she was elected and were posted on MySpace by a family member who wanted to help improve the mayor’s social life. But the mayor left the photographs up after she was elected, and her opponents found this to be inappropriate. So she lost her job.

The ouster raises an interesting point: Can/should an employer check out employees or prospective employees on the Internet? After all, there is wealth of information on the world wide web. On the other hand, there is a lot of information the employer just doesn’t want to know. After all, just what should human resources do after discovering photographs of a job candidate doing keg stands on the employee’s MySpace page? Does it bring forth any issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act? What if a current employee’s page shows her doing bong hits or the page contains racially or sexually offensive content?

While some states have laws saying that an employee can’t be fired for off-duty conduct, most don’t. It looks like this is going to be something that the courts will have to sort out over time. In the meantime, I’m hoping that I don’t have to see any other elected officials in their underwear…..