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Boss fires employee for posting 'provocative' photos on Instagram. 'AITA?'

Boss fires employee for posting 'provocative' photos on Instagram. 'AITA?'


"AITA for firing a female employee who posts provocative underwear pictures on her Instagram?"

Here's the story:

I (m29) run a successful event planning business that I started with my ex wife about 7 years ago. When my ex wife and I divorced, she also divorced the business, and I then employed about 9 people to work for me. We now have offices and we have a tight group of employees who are almost like family to me now.

About 6 months ago one of my employees told me she was pregnant, and as a result was going to leave the business to be a full time stay at home mom. I had no issue with this, but it meant I had to find a new employee to take her place. I interviewed a lot of people before finding Olivia, who I went on to employ.

Olivia has lots of experience and is absolutely fantastic at her job. The clients love her and she’s really in tune with what the clients needs and desires are. The nature of our work is to build a rapport with our clients, which sometimes means social media is added by clients.

For my other employees this has never been an issue. They post respectable pictures of their families or travelling, it’s never been a cause for concern. Olivia, on the other hand, thinks herself as a bit of an amateur underwear model, and posts these pictures on her Instagram in very provocative poses.

Usually I wouldn’t have an issue with this, but I don’t want clients seeing them and immediately looking down on my business.

I gave Olivia a warning about a month after she started working for me and told her to stop posting pictures like that as it was bad for the image of the company.

She said okay and for a while she did, but then after a month she started posting them again, even more than she did before. When quarantine began we were extremely busy as a lot of clients were calling worried their events were going to be cancelled, and during this time Olivia was posting a provocative picture once every few days.

Out of pure stress I fired her and told her I didn’t want her to work for me anymore, and she said she was going to sue me for “discrimination” and claimed I was being sexist which I definitely wasn’t. The rest of my employees are threatening to leave in solidarity with Olivia. AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say:

1qaz0plmgh said:

YTA if you want them to share their social media you should have them create work accounts

silke_worm said:

Yea it’s a personal Instagram account and if she wants to post photos in her underwear she can. OP you’re an asshole and an idiot for firing her. If she made a post about it and it went viral your business would be over. Plus now your employees think you’re an asshole and will probably start looking elsewhere for work. Idk where you’re from but this may very well be grounds to sue.

openlycruel said:

Yta- not sure why you’re having clients add employees on social media but it’s her platform not your businesses. Provide a work account or something

justmy2centsforyou said:

YTA "Olivia has lots of experience and is absolutely fantastic at her job" thats what matters. You cannot dictate what employees have on their private insta. You could dictate that people shouldn't give their private insta to their business clients. But you actually encourage the opposite. Sorry, but you can't have that much influence on your employees personal lives. Pretty sure she'll get somewhere with her lawsuit.

FunOnAita said:

NAH. This is going to be controversial, but this is how the world works. You can choose to employ her or not. She can choose in her personal life to do what she wants. If those two things are not compatible, you can choose to fire her.

Posting nude or near-nude photos on Instagram in public does not make you a member of a protected class. No way in hell is Olivia winning a lawsuit. You may decide that her image is not appropriate for your business, and that's your choice. (Personally, I think underwear photos are fine.) But you may want to think about a policy as your company grows.

Incidentally, for all.of you saying that she can't be fired legally, what would you say if she had photos with a Confederate flag? People's choices have consequences.

And relevantinterests said:

NTA. I'm guessing everyone saying that you are the asshole has never known someone who had the cops called on them because of social media posts. Yes, your social media is your private life, but because it's now in full view of the public you have to be careful what you post.

Most employers have a clause about being able to fire you because of your posts. We see stories about people being fired every day because of their social media. Basically: be careful, put your account on private, and use fake names/private accounts

Do you think this guy has a right to fire his employee for her Instagram photos? Or is he the a**hole?

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