A 33-year-old Minnesota mom is suing her former employer, claiming she was fired from her job with a cable television provider because she posed nude for Playboy magazine even though she had cleared it with her boss.
The lawsuit filed by Jessica Zelinske, of Kasson, contends that her boss at Charter Communications in Rochester had said she could pursue a modeling opportunity with Playboy in early 2011, then fired her as an ad account executive upon learning that she had done a nude photo shoot.
Zelinske appeared on the cover of the September-October 2011 “Hot Housewives” issue, which went on sale in late July. She competed with more than 400 women who answered a casting call in Chicago that spring.
The suit names as defendants Timothy McBeain, the local sales manager who fired Zelinske, along with Connecticut-based Charter Communications and its advertising sales division, Charter Media.
McBeain said Tuesday his attorney advised him against commenting about the suit. Charter spokesman John Miller said, “Charter complies fully with all applicable employment law and denies any wrongdoing.”
The company, in a federal court filing Monday, contends that Zelinske was never given assurances from McBeain about keeping her job and that she did not tell him ahead of time about the photo shoot.
According to the suit, Zelinske told McBeain weeks beforehand that she was answering a Playboy casting call and received his assurance that her job — paying $18,000 annually plus commission — would not be in jeopardy if she appeared nude in the magazine.
The “Hot Housewives” issue was released in late July 2011. In early September, McBeain handed her a “Corrective Action Report,” notifying her that she was fired on the spot for violating the company’s “standards of common decency.” The notice went on to say: “You have violated Charter’s professional conduct policy by making the personal choice to pose nude in a well-known publication.”
The suit seeks at least $150,000 for, among other things, emotional distress, compensatory damages and legal expenses.