Iowa high court OKS fir­ing woman for be­ing ‘ir­re­sistible’ to her boss

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By Ryan J. Fo­ley

IOWA CITY, IOWA — A den­tist 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 all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Fri­day.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire em­ploy­ees they see as an “ir­re­sistible at­trac­tion,” even if the em­ploy­ees have not en­gaged in flir­ta­tious be­hav­ior or oth­er­wise done any­thing wrong. Such fir­ings may be un­fair, but they are not un­law­ful dis­crim­i­na­tion un­der the Iowa Civil Rights Act be­cause they are mo­ti­vated by feel­ings and emo­tions, not gen­der, Jus­tice Ed­ward Mans­field wrote.

An at­tor­ney for Fort Dodge den­tist James Knight said the de­ci­sion, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a vic­tory for fam­ily val­ues be­cause Knight fired Melissa Nel­son in the in­ter­est of sav­ing his mar­riage, not be­cause she was a woman.

But Nel­son’s at­tor­ney said Iowa’s all-male high court, one of only a hand­ful in the na­tion, failed to rec­og­nize the dis­crim­i­na­tion that women see rou­tinely in the work­place.

“Th­ese judges sent a mes­sage to Iowa women that they don’t think men can be held re­spon­si­ble for their sex­ual de­sires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to mon­i­tor and con­trol their bosses’ sex­ual de­sires,” said at­tor­ney Paige Fiedler. “If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it.”

Nel­son, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he con­sid­ered her a stel­lar worker. But he com­plained that her tight cloth­ing was dis­tract­ing, ac­cord­ing to the opin­ion.

He also once al­legedly re­marked about her in­fre­quent sex life by say­ing, “that’s like hav­ing a Lam­borgh­ini in the garage and never driv­ing it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.