Iowa court rules employers can now fire employees who are ‘too attractive’
December 25th, 2012
James Knight is a dentist from Iowa and he’s got a very strange story. The man was given permission by Justice Edward Mansfield to fire any employee he considered too irresistible, saving his wife from some future sad times. The Judge declared that even though it seems unfair to fire a girl just for this kinds of reasons, it is not illegal under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. He also stated that the fact is a “victory of family values”. The unlucky antagonist of the Knights is Melissa Nelson stated in reaction that the court failed to recognize the discrimination involved and which women are victims everyday in the workplace. Specifically she referred to a comment that Knight outed about her tight clothes: “that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.” Her attorney Paige Fiedler also made comments about the court’s decision: “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. 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 good employee. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her clothing was distracting.
It all started when Knight and Nelson -both married with children- started exchanging text messages, mostly about personal matters. Knight’s wife found out about the messages and asked her husband to fire the woman. The Knights consulted with their pastor, who agreed that terminating Nelson was appropriate. Nelson was stunned because she viewed the 53-year-old Knight as a father figure and had never been interested in starting a relationship, Fiedler said. But Knight argued Nelson was fired not because of her gender, but because her employment threatened his marriage. The judge agreed to the decision and even Knight’s lawyer stated that it is a reasonable choice to fire somebody to save or honor his client’s religious family.