Today, I read a news article on a dentist, James Knight, who fired a good female employee, Melissa Nelson, because she was too sexy and distracting to him. His wife also demanded that he fire her, because she was afraid for her marriage. Melissa Nelson didn’t flirt with James Knight, but wore revealing clothes:
Now, how did he get away with this? Isn’t it against the law to fire someone based on gender? Here’s how:
“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.”
Nelson’s attorney disagreed and said this:
“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.”
How does being allowed to protect oneself from temptation equal not being responsible for their sexual desires? I think it’s very responsible behavior. Irresponsible people give in to temptations and blame the person who created them. The man has a sex drive. He knows he has it, and is making efforts to be faithful. He’s also making efforts to remain focused while he’s working, a very important thing in the profession of a dentist. If he, say, raped her, or cheated on his wife with her, saying that he couldn’t help himself because Melissa Nelson was too sexy, the attorney would be right. The attorney falsely attributes “blaming the victim” mentality on James Knight. James Knight never blamed anyone. The firing wasn’t a punishment, it was a way to avoid unpleasant consequences of his own sexual desire. Perhaps the attorney Paige Fiedler should know that guys have their own issues to deal with. Their sex drive can be a powerful thing for them, but she wouldn’t know.
For the record, James Knight replaced Melissa Nelson with another (I suppose less attractive?..) woman.