(CN) – Virginia Tech had the right to fire an employee for asking a student if she wanted to pose in a swimsuit or “short shorts” for a calendar fund-raiser for a local boxing club, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled.
Meynard Quesenbery was a business manager who worked at the university for 29 years. In 2005, he was suspended for four days for allegedly accessing pornography on a university-owned computer.
A year later, Quesenbery asked a student if she was interested in posing for the calendar fund-raiser.
Quesenbery was fired, and a hearing officer upheld the university’s decision, based on Quesenbery’s accumulation of two offenses within three years.
The circuit court overturned the firing and reinstated Quesenbery with back pay, ruling that Quesenbery’s conduct did not constitute sexual harassment.
The university appealed, but the court of appeals upheld the decision. The case proceeded to Virginia Supreme Court, where Justice Keenan reinstated the hearing officer’s decision to allow the university to fire Quesenbery.
Keenan ruled that Quesenbery had not identified a Virginia law that the court contradicted. Keenan also wrote that his case relied solely on federal decisions regarding sexual harassment under Title VII.
“This reliance was misplaced,” Keenan wrote, “because Quesenbery’s grievance did not involve a Title VII claim but was an administrative proceeding.”