High School Terminates Woman Over Facebook Photo

12 Nov

Boyfriend Who Appeared in Picture Remains Employed

While surfing through the news this evening, I came across an interesting story that may form the basis for a lawsuit.  A man and woman were employed by a high school in Pocatello, Idaho.  (Am I the only one thinking of the B-52s right about now-one).  At this point, I should use caution in my grammar.  The man is employed by Pocatello High School.  The woman was employed by the Pocatello High School.  The man coached the football team, over the years won more than a few championships, and is in the high school football coach hall of fame.  The woman was the coach of the woman’s basketball team.  They are engaged to one another and during a family gathering over the summer someone took a photograph in which the man is holding the woman’s breast.  The photo was posted on the woman’s Facebook page.  Within 24 hours, the woman removed the photo from her page.  Nevertheless, the damage was done.  The school fired the woman and reprimanded the man.  While the man was guilty of holding, the school maintained that the woman had engaged in immoral behavior.  The school is not criticizing the woman for the picture.   Rather, it terminated her for posting the photograph on Facebook.









Despite the public outrage surrounding the story, the school is asserting that it made the right decision to fire the woman and reprimand the man.   A grievance of the woman’s dismissal is pending.

It is not clear whether the woman would prevail in a discrimination case.  From the comments that I have read, if this case were submitted to the court of public opinion, Pocatello High School would be in big trouble.  In cyberspace, everyone has an opinion and I comments supporting the high school are few and far between.

Sex or gender discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of that person’s sex.  The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.  If you need to talk to a labor and employment attorney about discrimination or wrongful termination, call Rich Bradford at (813) 413-2402.



Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


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8 responses to “High School Terminates Woman Over Facebook Photo

  1. Jim Neal

    November 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I must first start off by saying that I have no background in law, except a couple semesters of business law. That being said, I do not think that she has a case. If you go down the list of “punishable” offenses, you will see that they were both treated equally. Both were involved in a questionable act that was photographed. Both should have been reprimanded at that point, if that was against the school districts policy. The gentleman ended his involvement at that point, whereas the young lady escalated the offense by posting it to a public forum that provided the opportunity to be seen by the children that she influences. The fact that her actions, could have caused more damage than it would have if not posted, deems necessary the more severe punishment.

    The only reason the man should have been fired as well, is if the action in the photograph was unwelcome. If that was the case we would be talking about a criminal matter as opposed to a civil one. As always, I am sure that the article does not contain all the facts that will be included in the case.

    Great post, I enjoyed it. Thank you

    • Bradford & Bradford, Attorneys at Law

      November 12, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Jim. You are right in noting that we do not have all the facts. That is probably what would make the conversation so interesting. I wonder if the results of her grievance will make the news.

  2. Author Massimo Marino

    November 13, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Interesting to see the development as from the article it could go anywhere and ballistic, too.

    • Bradford & Bradford, Attorneys at Law

      November 13, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for dropping by, Massimo. I am wondering if this is one of those stories that initially makes the headlines, but then disappears as the parties work through a resolution.

      • Author Massimo Marino

        November 14, 2013 at 2:54 am

        Could be… Sometimes when the risk to go public becomes ‘real’ suddenly the tones become conciliatory and “You misunderstood…” “Maybe we can…”

        Hypocrisy is second only to stupidity on this planet.

  3. Robin Harper

    November 13, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Well, if it’s not yet a court case, it should be. I am shocked that we are living in 2013 and still dealing with sex discrimination. Ridiculous. Fire them both or reprimand them both.

    • Bradford & Bradford, Attorneys at Law

      November 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Thanks for commenting, Robin. I have a feeling she will get her job back during the grievance process. If the school district denies her grievance, I expect her attorneys will file a discrimination charge and then a lawsuit.

  4. patricepaquette

    December 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Reblogged this on ReblogSocial.


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