Many are campaigning for a teacher to be reinstated after she was suspended for posting "provocative and sultry" selfies on Facebook. Lydia Ferguson, a teacher in the UK and a divorced mother of three, was escorted off the premises of Ousedale School in Buckinghamshire, England, after uploading the photos on social media. There was no nudity in her photos.
This story begs the question: when do employers go too far in trying to control a person's life outside of work. By all accounts, Ferguson was a well-liked and popular teacher. There were no complaints about her instruction or her appearance in school. Yet her employers chose to insert themselves into her private life by including her social media posts into her professional life.
I am not saying that employers don't have the right to examine an employees social media offerings. What I am saying is that a person's social media postings - short of illustrating a crime or a facet of the person's persona that would preclude their fidelity to their employment - should not be grounds for disciplinary action if their quality of work during work hours isn't affected.
This gets into the whole Iranian "morality police" thing. In Iran, women are routinely approached by authorities who insist they must dress differently or face punishment. The punishment is sometimes incarceration in the most harsh of prisons. These "morality police" even require Christian women to were veils in Catholic churches.
We, in the West, must show prudence when incorporating a person's private life into their professional life. Employers do not "own" their employees, and penalizing someone for a lifestyle choice that has no bearing on their quality of work is traveling a slippery slope.