Third Circuit: Send Porn, Get Fired - U.S. Third Circuit
U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Third Circuit: Send Porn, Get Fired

When it comes to being fired for viewing and sending pornographic images on work-provided accounts, age ain’t nothing but a number.

Ruling against a group of Latrobe Specialty Steel Co. employees who were fired for sending sexually explicit emails through their work accounts, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the workers had no basis in claiming that they were really fired because of their age.

The inappropriate conduct was discovered during a 2007 investigation into a sexual harassment complaint. Six employees were suspended, with four - all in their late 50s or early 60s - eventually terminated a week later after an investigation into the nature and volume of the emails exchanged.

Claiming age discrimination for their termination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the employees filed suit in federal court. Although they were able to establish a prima facie case of discrimination, they couldn't prove the company's legitimate reason for firing them was a pretext for discrimination.

Claims that an employer told you "you have gray hair and are fat" have to be said relatively close in time and in relation to the discriminatory action to be relevant. And going back to the grade-school argument "but other people are doing it" won't be taken seriously by a Court of Appeal.

Unsurprisingly, summary judgment was granted to the company, and the Third Circuit subsequently rejected the notion that the porno-sending was merely a pretext for age discrimination.

If you're going to send naughty pictures of age-appropriate subjects, do it on your own time.

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