We have all seen racy pictures of male firefighters. Secretaries at a law firm I used to work at had firefighter calendars at their desk. Indeed, firefighters are stereotypically well built and often have model-like looks to go with their impressive physiques. It is part of the job to be in shape.
It is thus ironic that a female firefighter was allegedly fired for posting photos on her Instagram account. Presley Pritchard is a former firefighter with the Evergreen Fire Rescue and filed a wrongful termination claim against her former employer. The 27 year old accused the fire department of firing her because of her gender. She promotes her fitness lifestyle on Instagram to 113,000 followers and often shares videos of herself working out. She claims the fire department asked her to take down certain posts that showed her in workout gear and her firefighter uniform. She says that her prior employer found her posts to be too racy.
A board member had received an email from a “concerned taxpayer” regarding Pritchard’s Instagram photos. Pritchard had to attend a July 2018 board meeting over the matter to defend herself. Apparently, tensions with the department escalated after she began selling “Firefight Like a Girl” T-shirts on her fitness website.
She was told that she would be terminated if she did not remove all department related content from her social media site and she refused. She ultimately decided not to remove the posts after consulting a lawyer who told her that legally she didn’t have to. The lawyer said that a “standard social media policy” for the department was never substantiated in writing or fully communicated to staff.
Her Complaint states, ““Several male employees in the department have photos of themselves in uniforms and turnouts in front of fire trucks and at the department on their social media accounts. Importantly, Evergreen Fire Department does not have a social media policy and never has. I was directly targeted due to how I looked in my gym attire at a public gym.”
What are your thoughts? Is this a double-standard or is the department justified in firing Pritchard for failure to adhere to its demands about her social media.