Iowa Supreme Court confirms a woman can be fired for being too a - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa Supreme Court confirms a woman can be fired for being too attractive

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Melissa Nelson sued Fort Dodge, Iowa dentist James Knight after he fired her for being too attractive. Melissa Nelson sued Fort Dodge, Iowa dentist James Knight after he fired her for being too attractive.
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IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa Supreme Court has confirmed its ruling that a dentist did not violate the law when he fired a female assistant for being too attractive.

The all-male court issued a ruling Friday in a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by Melissa Nelson, who was fired by Fort Dodge, Iowa dentist James Knight despite being a stellar employee.

The court found that "this case simply lacked the facts to establish discrimination."

In a 32-page ruling, the court found that "Nelson made no legal or factual claim that a relationship with Dr. Knight was submissive, objectionable, or harassing in any way, and there was no evidence in the record to hint the relationship was not jointly pursued."

The ruling goes on to say that "The role of consent is important to the responsibility of employees and employers of both sexes to monitor and control their conduct in the workplace."

Justices ruled 7-0 in December that Knight didn't commit discrimination when he fired Nelson, saying bosses can terminate workers that they find too irresistible because those decisions are based on feelings, not gender.

The court withdrew that opinion amid criticism and issued a new decision Friday morning again siding with Knight, explaining that the case comes down to the question of whether Nelson's termination was "a response by Dr. Knight to a personal relationship or was it his response to Nelson's status as a woman?"

The Iowa Supreme Court found that Iowa is not unusual in its laws governing sex discrimination in the workplace. 

The ruling states that research "has failed to uncover any appellate court in the nation that has recognized sex discrimination under facts similar to those in this case, and it has failed to identify any state legislature that has defined sex discrimination to include adverse employment consequences from a consensual personal relationship."

The ruling goes on to say that if "Congress or our legislature intended for adverse employment consequences from consensual personal relationships between employers and employees to be protected as sex discrimination, these legislative bodies can clarify or change the law to reflect such intent."

Knight and his wife said the dentist had become too attracted to Nelson and believed her continued employment would threaten their marriage. 

Nelson's replacement was a woman.

(This story includes reporting by the Associated Press)

 

Follow David Nelson on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/PdyVE3 and on Twitter http://bit.ly/Sr0cYH

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