The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Mooning Your Boss is 'Cause' For Firing

Jason Selch is a loyal friend. He also might have a slight problem with impulse control. Back in 2005, upon learning that his friend would lose his job in the aftermath of a merger, he decided to express his feelings on the matter to the men in charge. He marched into the conference room, verified that he did not have a non-compete agreement restricting him from taking another job, and then dropped his pants and mooned his bosses, reports the Courthouse News Service.

Stay classy, bro.

Somehow, that didn’t lead to his immediate termination from his position as an investment banker for a Bank of America subsidiary. The pair of bosses in the conference room discussed the matter, and one highlighted Selch’s importance to the company. So they issued a formal warning letter to Selch. Unfortunately, when the boss’ boss returned from vacation, he sent Selch packing.

That brought up the first issue of the case: is mooning ‘cause’ for firing? Selch’s employment agreement held that he could not be fired absent good cause, such as misconduct. According to the court, mooning your boss qualifies as misconduct. In addition, it violated the employee handbook.

That wasn’t the end of the battle however. Selch had a pretty good argument that the formal warning letter, which set forth standards of conduct to abide by in the future, and which was signed by the parties, acted as a contract for future employment. It modified the existing employment agreement and lowered the standard for firing him to any violation of the company’s standards in any aspect of his job.

It’s a pretty interesting argument. It is a signed document modifying an existing contractual agreement. One could argue that it exchanges continued employment for a waiver of some of his previous protections to his position that were in his contract.

The court didn’t buy it. They ruled that the letter did not contain any explicit promises of future or continued employment, nor was there an oral contract. It was simply a disciplinary action.

It will be interesting to see if the case is appealed further. Selch should certainly be motivated to see the case through - his gluteal display cost him millions in compensation, as he was terminated months before he was supposed to receive a payout.

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