General Question

willbrawn's avatar

Do you think you should be able to get fired based on something you did in the past?

Asked by willbrawn (6603points) April 24th, 2009

Example: In recent news a cheerleader coach was fired because in the past she posed for playboy. Do you think the school is justified in firing her?

At what point does the past become the past?
Could you be fired based on something you did in the past?

Really couldnt anyone be fired then? Is this right?

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31 Answers

Triiiple's avatar

I think it all depends on the position you are going to be taking.

If your a cheer leading coach i assume that some of the girls are going to look up to you, take advice from you maybe even admire you but when they find out youve done something like Playboy what does that say to them?

qashqai's avatar

Shit happens.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t think it’s right that she was fired. If she was a good coach, it shouldn’t have mattered. But, I’m sure a lot of parents were up in arms about it. I don’t see anything wrong with posing for Playboy-and unless she was hanging the pictures in her office or telling the cheerleaders that they should also pose for Playboy then who was it hurting?

But if you were hired say, as a bank teller and then they found out that you had been in jail for theft and didn’t reveal this on the application or in the interview then they could fire you because you weren’t truthful.

But really, I think it’s wrong to fire people based on moral judgements. What is moral to some isn’t to others. Will people ever learn to to accept people for what they are and friggin’ get over it?

jca's avatar

if i work for child protective services and my agency finds out that 20 years ago i molested a child (hypothetical), then should i be able to keep my job?

i think it should go on a case by case basis. However, in this case, with the cheerleader, Playboy obviously does not go with the image the team wants to convey. They don’t want to give the impression that they condone this behavior. Vanessa what’s her name the former Miss USA or Miss America was fired for having former sex partner come forward with lesbian photos of her. this does not go with the squeaky clean image of the beauty pageant.

Darwin's avatar

If the coach lied when being hired, then she could be fired. It could be something as vague as “Have you ever done something that might make you not a good role model for young girls?” or something specific such as “Have you ever posed nude for photographs?” However, if no one ever asked her anything that would bring it to light and she never volunteered the information, considering it to be irrelevant to the job of coaching cheerleaders, then technically she didn’t lie.

It is a difficult question to answer in that if it never comes to light then no harm is ever done and the coach is not fired. However, as soon as it is leaked to the public, then the harm is done and the organization may suffer if they don’t fire her. Unfortunately, organizations dealing with the teaching or training of other people’s children are very subject to pressure from the parents of the children and they often yield simply in self-protection.

There is a faint possibility that her past behavior may be reflected in current behavior, or that she isn’t such a great coach so folks have been looking for a way to fire her without having to itemize her incompetence or personality conflicts.

And more importantly it creates a climate of risk. There is a possibility, however faint, that now that it is known one or more of her girls may decide to do something similar. Parents have been known to sue in such instances and destroy the organization.

I am watching something like this happening right now, where three parents of children on my son’s baseball team have started a campaign against the coach primarily because their feelings were hurt when he asked them to stop interfering and let him coach. He isn’t the best coach in the world, and our team isn’t doing particularly well, but then most of the kids on the team have never played baseball before. They are fat, out of shape video gamers that for one reason or another are playing baseball this year.

The coach wants them to learn baseball skills, good sportsmanship and, above all, have fun. The parents want the team to be number 1 in the league. The former goal is definitely possible. The latter goal is not. However, the team is part of a nonprofit association connected to the police, so I suspect the coach will quit very soon so that the whole mess doesn’t hit the media.

It would be nice if we could realize that some folks fall prey to the follies of youth but then mature. However, a lot of us are not mature ourselves, and without parents and teachers standing over us and making us behave, some of us can be really nasty and destroy the good work of others.

elijah's avatar

I don’t believe she should have been fired. There’s nothing illegal about Playboy. That’s just pictures. I’d be a bit more upset if it was porn, but even then it’s not illegal. As long as she isn’t flaunting her photos around the school or telling the girls about it then it has nothing to do with her job. This isn’t a perfect world though, and if the parents are that worked up over it then I guess the school did what was best. It’s sad, though.

jca's avatar

Elijahsuicide: is Playboy not porn? (you wrote “That’s just pictures. I’d be a bit more upset if it was porn”).

qashqai's avatar

Playboy is not porn at all, by the way.

TaoSan's avatar

Problem in this country in general is that everyone is obsessed with people’s past. We live in a screen-out society, meaning we screen those out that have ANY indicator or discrepancy in their past.

I don’t subscribe to that at all. I am in a hiring position, and some of the most loyal and honest employees I took on are convicted felons. I don’t care, that was then and now is now.

(Obviously not any serial killers or child molesters).

We rely too much on the idea that past behavior is the strongest indicator of future behavior. I guess statistically speaking it is. But, the question really is, why do those with past transgressions commit new ones?

Is it because they are bad, or because we screen them out so well that they literally have no other chance?

As for firing someone for having been in Playboy? That’s just silly and childish. If anything I’d hit on her ;)

casheroo's avatar

Not for Playboy…unless they specifically asked when they were hiring her.
I think some things are in peoples past, and should be kept there. I don’t think it’s fair to hold it against them.
And it’s ridiculous to compare molesting a child to doing playboy…of course a molester shouldn’t work near children…

cwilbur's avatar

It depends on the job. Teachers often have standards of ethical and moral behavior to adhere to, and teachers who show evidence of moral turpitude can be fired. And yes, posing for Playboy does show a serious lack of judgment—maybe it was youthful indiscretion, but hey, some of these things stick around for years.

(Public service announcement: don’t post drunk pictures of yourself to Facebook.)

jca's avatar

@casheroo: I gave the comparison of child molesting to doing playboy to answer the question directly: do you think you should be able to get fired based on something you did in the past.

@gashgai and elijahsuicide: can you please explain to me what Playboy falls in the category of? because when i look at the merriam webster online dictionary under the word porn, it describes exactly what Playboy is. I believe Playboy is the perfect example of porn. Please help me understand. Am I ignorant as to what porn is?

knitfroggy's avatar

@jca I understood @elijahsuicide to mean porn as in a porn movie, which to me is more extreme than posing for nude pictures. A lot of people would argue that a nude photo spread is artistic and not pornographic at all. I personally don’t see anything wrong with either. I don’t think I would mind if my daughters coach had been in Playboy-I don’t understand the problem with it. Now if she had been in a porn movie, I really don’t think that would bother me either-I would probably think it was hilarious! The only way it would piss me off was if she was handing out copies of the issue she was in or having a movie screening.

avalmez's avatar

coincidentally, the amazon side bar on this page is offering to sell me the 2009 playboy playmate video calendar…

obviously, lying on your resume or omitting facts is reason for termination. and i don’t think it matters what the nature of the lie or ommission happens to be – it essentially speaks to your honesty and integrity or lack thereof.

and for those who assert there’s nothing wrong with playboy, then what would be the problem with any person in a leadership or role model position making an appearance in the now rather than only in the past? there’s a hint of “there is something wrong about it” in that position.

and there’s soft porn and hard porn. i’d definitely put playboy on the soft porn side, but asking where to draw the line between soft and hard is like asking where’s the line between normal healthy sex and kinky freaky sex, or what kind of recreational drugs are ok versus bad for you….all past threads.

and that reminds me, i need to add “current playboy” to my shoping list…

elijah's avatar

@jca Playboy is erotic photography. I agree it is not for children, but there is nothing wrong (my personal opinion here) with tasteful nudity for adults. To me porn involves portraying or commiting a sexual act, or being extremely graphic. A woman posing in Playboy is adult photography. A woman posing with legs spread, vagina exposed, extreme adult photography (I don’t enjoy extreme photos, but to each his own). If she gets gang banged by 100 dudes on top of a Camero and sells DVDs of it? Porn. I personally wouldn’t do it myself, but every woman has different ideas of what’s ok to her.
I said it would bother me as in I wouldn’t do porn, but I would not want her to be fired. It’s my job to teach my kid right from wrong. If my daughter goes on to do something I don’t agree with, it’s my fault, not her cheerleading coach. I want my kids to judge people on what they are doing here and now, not on some mistake (and I’m not even saying she should be sorry for it) someone made years ago. As long as the person didn’t break the law or hurt anyone, it’s no ones business.

tinyfaery's avatar

@jca So lesbianism is unacceptable? If pictures came out of her kissing a woman, so what. What is wrong with that? No one would be criticized for photos of a hetero couple kissing. How does this mar the “clean image”, if indeed there is a “clean image”.?

jca's avatar

tinyfaery: i didn’t say it’s unacceptable, i was using an example of what happened 10 years ago or whenever it was, when she got fired due to her past history being found out. don’t try to make an argument where there is none. this firing is a fact and i did not make nor did i imply any judgement about the pictures. (btw it was Vanessa Williams).

elijahsuicide: i was going by the dictionary def of porn.

tinyfaery's avatar

@jca Penthouse published photos were taken by a photographer. They were not of her and her supposed lover.

avalmez's avatar

@tinyfaery i was going to write that, but decided it’s kind of moot. i do remember the issue from back in the late 70’s or 80’s and, i dunno, they must have been good shots as i can still recall some…sorta

jca's avatar

tiny: ok, but don’t try to say i was putting down lesbian behavior, because that was definitely not my point, and not what i was trying to say.

Ivan's avatar

I think that everything you’ve ever done is in the past.

jca's avatar

ivan – on one hand you’re correct but if you were ever testifying in court the lawyer would rip you apart for any indiscretions or lies you had. they would say that speaks to your character (or lack of).

Dutchess12's avatar

@Ivan Are you being profound again??

Dutchess12's avatar

I think the biggest lesson to be learned here, is be careful of the decisions you make…because once something is done it can’t be undone.

avalmez's avatar

and for damn sure, make certain evidence of what you’ve done/thought doesn’t end up on the net!

wait a minute…

jo_with_no_space's avatar

I think in that case it’s a little unreasonable.

elijah's avatar

I’m wondering if since she can be fired for posing for sexual photos, would that make it ok to fire someone who was the town whore? How is that posing for photos is worse than a woman who goes home with different men every weekend? Town whores are a lot more well known than one girl in a magazine however many years ago. If you’re not supposed to judge people by their sexual promiscuity, why is it ok to judge someone on a sexy photo where she’s not even actually having sex?

avalmez's avatar

i would fire the town whore if she was a teacher in my school.

and i’d get her number walking out the door :) just ribbing!

avalmez's avatar

but more to your point, it is interesting how people react to images of nudity or sex as compared to their sexual behavior. i have known many examples of this phenomenon and think i might post a q on the topic actually.

jca's avatar

just guessing: maybe if the town whore had an arrest record they would fire her, but if it was just a rumor she was the town whore they would let it go? or not hire her in the first place?

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