« The Daily Memo - 7/25/06 | Main | Braaaaiiiiiiiinsssssss…. »

A QuizLaw Lesson in Employment Law

I don’t know if many of our visitors have had the opportunity to check out our exhaustive Employment Law section, but it offers scads of legal information on sexual harassment, wages, and even workplace discrimination. But today we provide some helpful guidelines in workplace termination laws, i.e., when an employer can legally fire you.

For today’s lesson, we offer Melanie Martinez for demonstration. Ms. Martinez was the host of a PBS kid’s show, entitled “The Good Night Show,” and she was recently let go from her hosting duties. Why? Well, let’s take a deeper look. Let us first assume, for the sake of argument, that she (like most employees) was at-will. In this case, she can be fired for nearly any reason, so long as it’s not discriminatory. So, looking at the facts: Ms. Martinez may be Hispanic, and if she was fired for this reason, that would fall under the category of race discrimination, which is totally illegal. We also have it on good authority that Ms. Martinez is religious by nature; if she were fired for that reason, PBS would be committing religious discrimination. But what if Melanie walked funny? Would PBS be legally entitled to fire her for that? Not if she was disabled, because that would run afoul of disability discrimination laws.

But, what if … just what if, she walked funny because she just had anal sex? Or, perhaps, she advocated many years ago the virtues of anal sex in a video she filmed called “Technical Virgin”? Well, if she was the host of a kid’s show, and word got around that she was a fan of the backdoor action, even “if it hurts a little” and “she walks around funny for a day or two,” then, yes, PBS probably has every right to terminate her employment. Particularly if that video was seen by thousands of folks whose children might have enjoyed “The Good Night Show.” So, PBS, you have successfully navigated the minefield of workplace termination laws. Congratulations!

And that’s QuizLaw’s lesson for today. You’re welcome!

| Comments (3)


Well, the tape's funny. Obviously PBS has to put an end to anyone who has a sense of humor, wit, and naughtiness. Big bores.

Your analysis made me giggle, even as I am frustrated with PBS Sprout for this. Melanie brings a lot of joy into kids' lives (mine included) and she's a very sweet host for a kids show.

Frankly, if we're advocating getting rid of people in PBS shows who've said off-color things we need to fire Gilbert Godfrey from Cyberchase and Maria from Sesame Street for her recent run in the Vagina Monologues.

The following website has summaries of approximately 150 lawsuits, formal complaints, etc filed by Jehovah's Witness EMPLOYEES, who claimed religious discrimination: