Sex at Work Is Not OK, MO Appellate Court Says (Dammit)
|This could get you fired, per the Missouri Court of Appeals|
If you have sex on the timeclock -- even consensual sex! -- your employer can fire you.
Cue the chorus of boos here.
This landmark ruling, originally reported by Missouri Lawyers Media, involves the case of a dude named Calvin West Jr., who got shitcanned in 2009 from his job as a punch-press operator after getting caught getting some nookie on company time.
As Missouri Lawyers Media reports:
According to the opinion, West touched and kissed the breasts of a female co-worker, whom the court did not name, and then put his hand down her pants. They stopped and went back to work. The female employee reported this as an assault, but West said the activity was consensual. According to the opinion, West said police questioned him but added that he had not heard anything else from the police.
West argued that the boob-kissing was consensual. So after his employer fired him, West applied for unemployment benefits. When the state's Labor and Industrial Commission turned him down, West appealed to the appellate court here in St. Louis.
On Tuesday, it turned him down, too.
You can read the whole opinion here. Sadly, 'twas unanimous. And, equally sadly, the appellate judges specifically found that:
Clearly an employer has a right to expect that its employees are engaging in meaningful work while being paid by the employer, and are not engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct while being paid and on company property.
Worst of all? The court notes that the no-sex-on-the-job standard applies even for companies that don't expressly prohibit it: "Nor is the employer required to have in place a precise work rule prohibiting such behavior in order for that behavior to rise to the level of misconduct ...West did not have to be explicitly told not to feel and kiss the bare breasts of his co-worker while on the job in order for his conduct to be deemed misconduct."
So don't even bother checking your employee handbook. You might not see "fellatio" under the list of actions that are expressly prohibited, but the Fun Police over at the Missouri Court of Appeals still seem to believe that you can be (legally) fired for performing it at a staff meeting.