Iowa Court Sanctions Firing A Woman For Being Too Attractive
Dental assistant Melissa Nelson was fired by her former employer Dr. James Knight because he found her too tempting. According to the official court document, Dr. Knight testified:
I don’t think it’s good for me to see her wearing things that accentuate her body.
Although Dr. Knight thought Nelson was a good assistant and Nelson deemed Dr. Knight a fair employer, Nelson lost her lawsuit against her former employer that was filed last Friday on the grounds that she had experienced sex discrimination.
The two began texting during the last six months of her employment about banal matters such as each of their own children, but the conversation turned sexual when Dr. Knight suggested that he would become aroused if Nelson was to continue wearing clothes that made her look good, the court document states. After Mrs. Knight found out about the texting, she demanded that Nelson be terminated. The court document states:
Can a male employer terminate a female employee because the employer’s wife, due to no fault of the employee, is concerned about the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee? This is the question we are required to answer today. For the reasons stated herein, we ultimately conclude the conduct does not amount to unlawful sex discrimination in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
Dr. Knight reasoned that having Nelson in the office would be a threat to his marriage. Business Insider reports:
Knight’s wife, who also worked in the dental office, put her foot down when she discovered the two were texting each other. After meeting with their pastor, Knight agreed to fire Nelson because she was a “big threat to our marriage.” Knight had his pastor by his side when he told Nelson that their relationship — even if there was no sexual affair — had become a “detriment” to his family and that for the sake of both their families they shouldn’t work together. He later told Nelson’s husband she had not done anything wrong or inappropriate, but that he was worried “he would try to have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.”
Nelson argued that if not but for her gender, she would still be employed. However, the court ruled that while Dr. Knight may have been unfair, no laws of discrimination had been violated.
It seems as if the ruling is less about Nelson being attractive and more about the fact that Mrs. Knight had been threatened by her husband’s lack of self control towards Nelson, if you ask us.
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