Iowa Woman Fired For Being Pretty
If you are a woman and you work in Iowa, break out the sweatpants and hoodie and wash off that makeup. If your boss thinks you look pretty he can fire you. The all male Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a dentist that fired an employee because he thought she was too pretty did nothing wrong.
According to the Associated Press, James Knight “acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage….”
The woman, 32 year old Melissa Nelson had worked for Dentist James Knight in Fort Dodge, IA for a decade. By his own account she was a good employee. In the months before the firing though, he allegedly told Nelson that “…her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.”
Knight’s wife, also employed in the office, had demanded Nelson be fired. According to reports after she was fired, Knight told Nelson’s husband that “…he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her (Nelson).”
Attorney Paige Fiedler said that Nelson was “stunned,” she viewed the 53-year-old Knight as a father figure and had never been interested in starting a relationship.
After discussions with their pastor, the Knights fired Nelson. She then filled a gender discrimination suit arguing that she had done nothing inappropriate and she would not have not been fired is she was a male.
From ABC News.go.com:
“Knight argued Nelson was fired not because of her gender, but because her continued employment threatened his marriage. A district judge agreed, dismissing the case before trial, and the high court upheld that ruling.”
In their unanimous ruling the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that an “irresistible attraction” is enough of a justification enough to fire someone even if the person has not engaged in any kind of inappropriate or flirtatious behavior.
Compiled from Associated Press reports and Slate.com