Volume 4, Edition 12, December 2008

The Human Resource Corner

Louisa Tuck was an elementary school teachers aide in Vineland, New Jersey. She also happened to work as an adult actress named Crystal Gunns five years ago. There’s some debate as to whether or not she really did leave her adult acting behind 5 fives ago. It seems she has an adult website that is still active. What a reader who identified herself as a concerned parent wanted to know is whether or not it’s okay to have an adult actress teaching elementary school children?


This is certainly a very serious situation which ignites lots of emotion because it that taboo subject that we all love, namely sex is involved, not to mention our puritanical roots and religious issues. This one is a true powder keg issue.

Well here is how I see it. First, let’s deal with the fundamental core issue that is always at the center of any work related issue dealing with qualifications – Is the person qualified to do the job and does the issue at hand diminish the person’s ability to perform their job?

Based on the information I have read on this situation she is qualified and has been doing a very good job. Consequently, removing her on the grounds that she is not qualified would most certainly run afoul of with the law on the basis of discrimination or possibly a wrongful termination charge.

However, looking at it from another angle, do her outside activities have a negative impact on her employer and would her actions tend to tarnish the reputation of the organization we have a different slant. Given that the work of her organization deals with educating children the question becomes ‘are her activities impeding the organizations ability to carrying out its function?’ If the conclusion to the question is ‘yes’ then the organization may very well have sufficient grounds to remove her from her position. However, this is a determination that a court would have to make.

There are striking similarities to this case in the one involving a police officer who was running a porn site that featured him and his wife. His termination was upheld by the courts. See full court decision at http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/B3653728C55546958825734D0
or commentary at http://jonathanturley.org/2008/02/06/court-of-appeals-upholds-termination-of-police-officer-over-private-porn-site/

While the net effect of this decision may appear to deny public employees the right to express themselves or to live their lives in controversial ways it appears that employers currently have the upper hand when employees’ actions negatively impact the organizations reputation and/or damage its ability to carry out its mission or function.

As it turns out, Ms. Tuck resign her position. Most likely she saw the ‘writing on the wall’ and knew her days were numbered.

Additional Commentary:

Given our focus on background screening one can only wonder if the school ran a background check on Ms. Tuck. Had they done so it is likely that they would have known up front about her previous questionnable employment activities. It seems to me this whole situation could have been avoided by a simple background ground check.

Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. This information is not legal advice which can only be offered by a licensed attorney.


Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advise regarding actions to take in any situation. Advertisements are presented for information and marketing purposes only and the National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence, Inc. makes no representations for any products or services that are promoted and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences that occur as a result of any purchases from advertisers.