An Iowa court has decreed that a boss may fire a worker for no other reason than the fact that she is so sexy that she makes his wife jealous, and with good reason, since he finds her irresistibly attractive.
If the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling that dentist James Knight was within his legal rights to fire otherwise efficient and effective dental assistant Melissa Nelson because he couldn’t resist her innate womanly charms stands, and it will take the Supreme Court of the United States to reverse it, gender discrimination has just been given a green light by one of the highest courts in the land.
We’ve been down this road before: back in 2010 a self-described hottie named Debrahlee Lorenzana sued Citibank for allegedly firing her because she was too sexy for the workplace. The difference is that Citibank disputed her claim that this was what got her canned, and successfully, apparently. Debrahlee pretty clearly was out to make a name for herself, and seemed less a victim of male horniness than an aspiring exploiter of sexual harassment laws. Nelson, however, does not appear to have gone out of her way to flaunt professional workplace decorum in her choice of dress. She just made her boss frisky, his wife noticed, and thus he claims that she had to be let go “to save their marriage.”
Well, this is now apparently legal in Iowa. It is so unfair, sexist and cruel, however, that I’m thinking of skipping my December 26 dental appointment in protest. If an employer refuses to hire a woman because she is too attractive, that is as discriminatory as refusing to hire her because she is too ugly, old, fat, dark or Muslim. This ruling, however, endorses such discrimination as an expression of “family values.” It is undoubtedly true that attractive men and women usually experience an inherently unfair advantage in the employment process, so this bizarre treatment of Ms. Nelson might seem like what George Will likes to call “condign justice.” Nonetheless, this is wrong in every way. Nelson, who has done nothing wrong other than have good genes, avoid ice cream binges, know how to apply make-up and hit the gym now and then, is being punished because her boss is an over-aged adolescent and his wife doesn’t trust him. Where is the justice in that?
The facts published about the case, in my view, make a strong case for workplace harassment. Nelson alleged that Knight, 53, told her that if his pants were bulging, she would know her outfits were too revealing. Ick. He also joked about her lack of a social life by saying it was “like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.” It seems that Dr. Knight consulted his pastor about how to handle his problem, and the good man of God didn’t say, “Grow up, you twit!” or “Keep your eyes up and your mind out of the gutter,” but told him to fire Nelson instead. Nice. Score a touchdown for the sexist jerk team, which now includes the Iowa Supreme Court.
“These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don’t think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires,” Nelson’s attorney, Paige Fiedler, told the Associated Press. “If (the bosses) get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it.” I think that’s a fair summary. Nelson isn’t like Debrahlee Lorenzana, who went out of her way to emphasize her, uh, assets, which she had already had surgically emphasized, if you get my drift.“I wore a long-sleeve or short-sleeve T-shirt and I wore scrubs,” Nelson, a happily married mother, said, explaining that her work attire was hardly revealing. She also said that she wouldn’t have been fired if she were a man, an obvious conclusion that the horny dentist’s lawyer had the gall to dispute. “While there was really no fault on the part of Mrs. Nelson, it was just as clear the decision to terminate her was not related to the fact that she was a woman,” Stuart Cochrane told the AP. “The motives behind Dr. Knight terminating Mrs. Nelson were quite clear: He did so to preserve his marriage.”
Riiiight, Stuart. And he would have fired her to save his marriage if she had been an equally attractive man, Cocker Spaniel, robot or toaster. What do you mean, “the decision to terminate her was not related to the fact that she was a woman?”Ethically, this decision makes no sense to me at all. It’s enough to make one an anti-dentite.
Facts: Daily News