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Another case of school employee working in sex trade – this time, teacher did not lose job

Remember the case where a Quebec school board terminated an office assistant because she was a porn video star on the side? She was terminated because her off-duty conduct was inconsistent with the school board’s mission and the values the board wished to convey to students. Well, here’s another case where a sex-ed teacher who also worked as a stripper and porn actor was allowed to keep teaching! What was the difference in this case?

Yes, Benedict Garrett taught sexual education by day at a school, and was a stripper, porn actor and naked butler with his own website by night. His extracurricular pursuits were discovered when his students found a trailer for one of his promotions online. Some parents objected.

This led to a suspension, and the teacher fought it. He argued that his treatment constituted “moral hypocrisy”. He questioned why a teacher could be permitted to smoke, drink and overeat, but not earn a second salary in legitimate legal activities such as stripping and pornography.

In the end, the disciplinary board held that he was guilty of professional misconduct. His off-duty conduct as a lap-dancing stripper who advertising online for students to see was not the best side job for a teacher.

Notwithstanding this finding, the teacher was permitted to teach again on the condition that he stop working at his side job.

When the office assistant in Quebec offered to stop her off-duty conduct so she could keep her day job, her offer was rejected and she was terminated anyhow.

What is the difference?

One difference is jurisdiction. Garrett’s case played out in Britain. Other than that, I can find no distinguishing factors.

I recently wrote about the trend of employees taking second jobs to make ends meet, and how sometimes, employers have the right to request that an employee quit a second job because of a conflict of interest.

What do you think? Given the fact that decreasing real wages are becoming a serious problem for some and causing them to seek second jobs to make ends meet, do you think that restricting employees’ off-duty conduct is a good idea? Do you think the teacher should have been terminated, or, do you think the Quebec school board was overly harsh when it terminated the office assistant?

Christina Catenacci
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Christina Catenacci

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. Read more
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