A school guidance counselor is suing the New York City Department of Education after she was fired after some long-ago photos of her modeling lingerie surfaced on the Internet. Her lawsuit claims discrimination and.
The counselor had worked for the school system for 12 years, following a successful modeling career in her late teens.
Problems began when an inquisitive student found the counselor’s old modeling shots on the web and showed them to the school principal. The counselor claimed the photos had been altered and were unauthorized.
The school system appointed an investigatory committee, which concluded “[t]he inappropriate photos were accessible to impressionable adolescents … and [t]hat behavior has a potentially adverse influence on her ability to counsel students and be regarded as a role model.”
Note: It’s anybody’s guess how this case will turn out, but there’s no doubt the New York City Department of Education mishandled the situation.
First, if the counselor was successfully performing her job, it will be difficult for the school system to explain why her previous modeling work had much bearing on her professional skill.
Second, the counselor’s attorney is likely to ask whether the school system would have reacted the same way if a male faculty member had been involved.
Those kinds of issues generally tend to lead to settlements—payouts that likely could have been avoided with a less draconian response.