Employment is short. Don’t have an affair.

September 08, 2015 - by: Brian Kurtz 2 COMMENTS

Imagine a guy, a married guy, more specifically an unhappily married guy, and even more specifically an unhappily married guy lacking a moral compass. The guy creates a discrete (ha!) profile on AshleyMadison.com, a dating website for married people whose tagline is “Life is Short. Have an Affair.” No need to prowl hotel bars at last call. Thanks to Ashley Madison, our guy can arrange an illicit rendezvous from the privacy of his laptop. shhhhh

Or not.

As you surely know, hackers last month released a mountain of personal data about Ashley Madison users into the dark web. Those skilled in such things have spent the past few weeks mining that data and have “outed” numerous site members, including celebrities, politicians, government employees, and something called a Duggar. Could things get any worse for our guy?

The answer is yes, specifically if our guy is employed by a church or other religious-based institution. Courts have consistently dismissed lawsuits against faith-based organizations who terminated employees for things like adultery or having a child out of wedlock. An Ohio Catholic school, for example, fired its music teacher for adultery. She filed a gender discrimination lawsuit claiming that her affair was irrelevant to her qualifications as a teacher. A federal court disagreed noting that her Diocese and Parish legitimately believed her sexual conduct was directly related to her qualifications to work at the Catholic school. The Ohio decision is not an outlier.

This may be one of the unintended consequences of the Ashley Madison data dump. Faith-based institutions may terminate employees who created profiles on the basis that adulterous behavior isn’t consistent with the organization’s religion mission. So now our guy is not only unhappy, he is unemployed. Good luck with that, guy.

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2 COMMENTS

1 Marilyn G. Moran
12:10:49, 09/09/15

Enjoyed the post. What’s a Duggar? :) If my husband went on Ashley Madison, his life would be very short indeed.

2 Tabatha
09:58:26, 11/09/15

Most recently, it will be interesting to see how this turns out:
A former assistant professor at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon, has filed a $650,000 lawsuit against the university, alleging she was fired two weeks ago because she became pregnant out of wedlock, The Register-Guard reported. Coty Richardson, 35, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Lane County Circuit Court. Richardson notified university officials in May that she was expecting a child. The suit alleges she was told by her then-employer if she wanted to keep her job, she would either have to proclaim the pregnancy a mistake and break up with the father, her boyfriend of 12 years, or get married immediately. Richardson refused the ultimatum and requested privacy in her personal life. She received a letter of termination July 30 stating in part, “sexual relations outside of marriage is contrary to the university’s core values” and the pregnancy “would result in a very demonstrative violation of that core value.”

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