Published: May 3, 2016
By Scott Heins
A Long Island woman alleges that Con Edison rescinded a job offer after the company discovered a homoerotic image posted to her Instagram account. Samantha Chirichella, 26 of West Islip is suing the energy company in Manhattan civil court, and claims that the mirror image-style photo of two nude women touching one another’s breast cost her a $70,000 a year position as an investigator in the company’s legal department.
According to Chirichella’s lawsuit, Con Ed offered her a job in February only to cancel her hiring in March after discovering “sexually explicit material” on her Instagram profile. Chirichella insists that the photo, which was posted three years ago, is “a recognized piece of fine artwork from a gallery show of a friend.”
Her suit notes that before her job offer was cancelled, Chirichella had offered glowing references from past employers, and passed a background check. She also states that it was not only the Instagram photo but an Instagram comment exchange between her and another woman that prompted the rescinded job offer. The NY Post reports that an Instagram user named Danielle commented “It’d be hotter if it was us,” on Chirichella’s photo, to which she replied “hahah I agree:)” Chirichella’s suit accuses ConEd of assuming she is a lesbian, and discriminating against her sexual orientation.
“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 attorney, Arthur Schwartz, wrote in a letter to Con Ed.
Chirichella is seeking unspecified damages in her suit. A representative from Con Ed told the Daily News “We are reviewing the matter now.”
Chirichella’s suit stressed her photo is “no more sexually explicit than works of Da Vinci, Titian, or Michaelangelo, and less explicit than photos published in Sports Illustrated.