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A few years ago a school teacher in the US lost her job when it was discovered that she had previously performed in pornography. There was no suggestion that she was a poor teacher, it was simply the fact that she had an embarrassing past that got her fired. She had not mentioned it when applying for the job, it was only discovered by her students recognizing her in a video seen on the internet.

More recently the EU Right to be Forgotten has been used to prevent a web search associating innocent people with criminals mentioned in news stories.

The owner of Oink's Pink Palace was fired when he was arrested for copyright infringement, but subsequently found innocent. In such cases it seems that the accused often does not get their job back, despite being dismissed over something that turned out to be perfectly legal.

Generally speaking, in the UK what employment rights does a person have when their past is potentially embarrassing? Former jobs, former criminal convictions now spent, former involvement with "undesirables" etc. Can they be fired, and if not what specific laws protect them and to what extent?

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    I think the argument in the schoolteacher case was that the porn impacted her ability to teach. I think it became public when students in her school found it and were passing it around. It wasn't just that she had done something embarrassing. If she had been a stripper and there were no recordings, the result might have been different. m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2486138
    – ColleenV
    Oct 15, 2015 at 16:13
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    I think the legal situation is different in the UK.
    – user
    Oct 15, 2015 at 19:42
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    Yes it is different in the UK, but you referenced the US teacher's case and implied that there was no indication that it impacted her ability to do her job, which wasn't exactly correct.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 15, 2015 at 19:55
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    Fair point. What I find interesting is that the ability to do her job was impacted by the attitude of the children and teachers around her. If they were, for example, racist then she probably couldn't be fired. Merely having an embarrassing past appears to have fewer protections.
    – user
    Oct 16, 2015 at 8:06
  • The point I think was that it was a distraction in the classroom, and that seeing her performance in the porn caused her students to not respect her or view her as an authority figure. A similar incident might be the child care worker that posted on social media that she didn't like kids, or the vet that posted a picture of a feral cat she killed with a bow and arrow. Public attitudes prevent them from being effective in their jobs.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 16, 2015 at 16:30

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