Can You be Fired for a TV Appearance?

A listener wants to know if a person can be fired for what they reveal on a TV show. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

In the wake of the recent death of Jerry Springer, godfather of the dysfunction-on-parade genre of television, listener Jane R. sent a very timely question.  She wants to know if participants in a judge-variety or other type of so-called reality TV show where people proudly advertise their less-than-dignified behavior can be fired from their real jobs even if they didn’t name their employers.

Jane, here’s a dose of actual reality: most employees (other than those who are parties to a collective bargaining agreement) are employees at will. That means they can be fired at any time for any non-discriminatory reason, including what an employer learns about the way they behave in their spare time. They should save their confessions for a time when a mass audience, a TV judge, and their actual boss won’t be there to judge them.

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