Published: May 4, 2016
Publication: New York Daily News
By Barbara Ross
Con Ed has switched gears. The utility decided on Tuesday that it will indeed hire a Long Island woman who it originally rejected because it found a “sexually explicit” image of her on Instagram.
Chirichella, 26, claimed the image was art, not porn — and also claimed that Con Ed discriminated against her because it believed she was a lesbian.
Arthur Schwartz, the lawyer for Samantha Chirichella, 26, said that after “a rush of media interest” in the lawsuit that Chirichella filed against Con Ed on Monday, the company’s lawyers called to say Con Ed had “rethought the decision.”
It’s giving Chirichella the same $70,000 a year investigator job in its Law Department that it offered to her in March and then rescinded after finding the photo.
Chirichella charged in court papers that the photo — showing a mirror image of a woman nibbling on an aroused naked breast — was not porn but art. She said she put it on Instagram three years ago after it had been included in a gallery show by an artist friend of hers.
In her lawsuit, Chirichella charged that Con Ed was really discriminating against her because it believed she was a lesbian. Comments under the photo show a friend teasing her about that.
“We appreciate Con Edison’s rapid resolution of this dispute and the sensitivity of the posting and its frank discussion of homosexuality. Ms. Chirichella is a smart, capable woman, whose father is a ‘lifer’ at Con Edison and they will not regret this decision,” Schwartz said.
In a statement, Con Edison said it “is committed to maintaining a workforce that promotes diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity in compliance with all state, local and federal hiring laws. We reviewed our decision carefully and decided to offer the job to this applicant. We are taking a closer look at our screening processes.”