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A teacher in Florida was recently forced to resign after she was accused of having shown pornographic material to 11 year olds. The material in question? A photograph of Michelangelo’s David. 

It seems somewhat of an exaggeration to refer to one of the world’s most famous pieces of art as ‘pornography’. Unfortunately the governors of the school in question did not agree and the teacher was told that she would be dismissed if she did not resign. 

Had this sequence of events occurred in the UK and the teacher been dismissed then it is likely that the dismissal would have been unfair. The employer would have to be able to show that it held a reasonable belief, following reasonable investigation, that by showing children a picture of a famous sculpture (that happens to depict a nude) the employee had committed an act of gross misconduct. Gross misconduct is serious misconduct which goes to the very heart of the employment relationship. A school in the UK taking similar action would have faced an uphill struggle with such an argument! 

Find out how we can help.  Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department.  Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at [email protected].