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ConEd fired me after finding lesbian art on my Instagram account

Published: May 2, 2016

Publication: New York Post

By Julia Marsh

This was too hot even for Con Ed to handle.The utility company fired a new hire in its legal department after finding an homoerotic photograph on the staffer

Samantha Chirichella

’s Instagram account — but the worker staffer insists that the lesbian work was “fine art,” not porn.

Samantha Chirichella of West Islip, LI, says in her Manhattan civil court suit that she accepted a $70,000-a-year position as a staff investigator in ConEd’s Legal Services Department in February.

Chirichella, 26, passed a background check and had “excellent references from prior employers,” her suit says.

Then in March, ConEd rescinded the offer after coming across what it called “sexually explicit material” on Chirichella’s Instagram page.

Chirichella says in her suit that the photo is “a recognized piece of fine artwork from a gallery show of a friend” and “no more sexually explicit than works of Da Vinci, Titian, or Michaelangelo, and less explicit than photos published in Sports Illustrated.”

Below the 3-year-old Instagram posting is a discussion about Chirichella’s sexuality in which she appears to say that she is a lesbian, the suit notes.

In the exchange, a poster named Danielle comments to Chirichella, “It’d be hotter if it was us,” and Chirichella replies, “hahah I agree:)”

“What stood out to us most vividly about the Instagram page is not the Con Edison evaluator’s poor sense of artistic judgment, but the context,” Chirichella’s lawyer, Arthur Schwartz, wrote in a letter to the utility giant.

Schwartz said ConEd was actually offended by the discussion about Chirichella’s sexual orientation, not the image, and discriminated against her based on the fact that she may be a lesbian.

She’s suing for unspecified damages.

“We are reviewing the matter now,” a ConEd rep said.

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