Woman fired in Iowa for being too sexy and distracting, Iowa Supreme Court agrees

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:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/bosses-irresistible-workers_n_2348381.html

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.”

I agree.

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.

 

 

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4 Responses to Woman fired in Iowa for being too sexy and distracting, Iowa Supreme Court agrees

  1. Meh says:

    I’m not really disagreeing, since the law says you can fire someone for any reason that isn’t protected (like pregnancy, race, etc.) but I would point out that “having an affair with her” wasn’t likely to be a consequence of his attraction to her, since she apparently had no interest in him.

    Some people have suggested that his religion is part of it, since some Christian denominations in the US consider even THINKING about someone who isn’t your spouse in a sexual way to be just as bad as adultery. So I’ve seen long lists of things women shouldn’t wear or do to avoid “tempting” men put out by these churches, but the “temptation” they are talking about isn’t necessarily actually cheating on your spouse or having sex while unmarried, but just the temptation to think about sex.

    I don’t know what religion he belongs to, so I don’t know if that is the case with him or not. The article I saw have said that his pastor also advised him to fire her.

  2. S.Lynn says:

    Isn’t this the same as Sharia law: women must be fully covered so men do not think about having sex with them? Is this opening the door to bringing Sharia-based law here? Seems to be a slippery slope.

  3. Pichi says:

    I feel as though the best option here would have just been to ask her to quit so that she wouldn’t have that on her job record.

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