Show of HandsShow of Hands

Show Of Hands December 24th, 2012 12:00am

At the request of his wife, an Iowa dentist fired a female assistant because she was "irresistible and a threat to his marriage." She sued, claiming discrimination. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of the dentist. Good call?

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Doopy Remedial Americanism
12/26/12 8:59 am

Slavery, by the way, is a denial of property rights, because a slave has no right to his own time.

Feudalism is the same. Serfdom cannot exist when a king cannot seize land from a farmer whose family has worked it for generations.

Doopy Remedial Americanism
12/26/12 8:53 am

Property rights are human rights, and probably our most important outside of our participation in government. They took us from a loose collection of colonies to the superpower who defeated Nazism and Communism.

NYevo NY
12/26/12 7:17 am

Whats right an what's legal are not always the same.

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NYevo NY
12/26/12 7:16 am

Lets fire the ugly people while we're at it. Or the pregnant ones, Or the ones that annoy us. Or the black ones. Go on and hide behind the law which only protects certain "statuses", but you're still amoral if you fire someone for due to your inability to control your erection, or petty jealously

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 6:32 am

something that the plaintiff was not able to show. But if Nelson was treated badly here, it was not because of her gender. What went on here was intensely personal, his individual attraction to her specifically, and no one else. That alone disqualifies it from a gender discrimination finding.

kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 6:28 am

Palindrome: I didn't mean that sexual harassment couldn't be a part of gender discrimination, only that they aren't interchangeable as reasons for suit. Gender discrimination implies a pattern of harassment or belittlement based on class...

palindrome California
12/26/12 6:22 am

because he found her hopelessly attractive was a violation of her civil rights as a woman in the workplace.

If Knight isn't a racist but fires a black person because he's afraid of what other customers might think-- does that make the action any less racist? Is that action right?

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palindrome California
12/26/12 6:19 am

protected status in the workplace is precisely because they, as a group, have suffered centuries and centuries of objectification, harassment and stereotyping based on their gender. This extends to all genders but it was with them in mind.

Maybe Knight isn't a sexist. Maybe he is. But firing Nelson

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palindrome California
12/26/12 6:16 am

In my opinion, sexual harassment makes up a central pillar in the nature of gender discrimination-- in the same sense that hatred and prejudice is central to racism. An offender sexually harasses someone BECAUSE he thinks little of them. BECAUSE they objectify the other sex. The reason women have

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palindrome California
12/26/12 6:12 am

Gender discrimination, unlike racism, wasn't as seething. It's characteristics weren't the same is what I mean. With racism, there was the same sense of superiority, but the actions against people of color were gender-less. It was an issue of hate, distrust, prejudice and exclusion regardless of sex

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palindrome California
12/26/12 6:10 am

True. I have to agree. Her case could be stronger as a sexual harassment suit. But I have to disagree with the argument that gender and sexual harassment are not interchangeable. The reason I see it that way is because I look at the reasons gender was included in the list of protected groups

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 6:01 am

I think she may have had a stronger case if she had sued for sexual harassment instead of gender discrimination. While both are deplorable, they're not interchangeable. In my opinion (and the court's), she was in no way fired because she was a woman.

palindrome California
12/26/12 5:54 am

And would such a firing violate workplace standards against sexual harassment?


Hmmmm. This is a great discussion

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palindrome California
12/26/12 5:52 am

Ah, I see what you're saying. Very very strong point. And that's definitely the logic used, I think, in the Iowa court's opinion concluding Nelson's claim of discrimination was invalid.

However, it still leaves the question: may a boss fire you for feelings felt of a sexual nature by him or her?

kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:47 am

Sorry, that's all garbled: If it were "looks", it wouldn't have taken ten years to be a problem. Something's changed in their relationship to make this a problem now. It doesn't matter if it's only his problem... they can't work together anymore.

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:44 am

if it was only her looks, they wouldn't have been a problem before. He's perceived a different type of relationship with her than before, and THAT'S the reason he can't work with her. That's not "looks".

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:42 am

Palindrome: just because she was a good employee does not mean that there was not an intractable personal problem. I have personally fired a friend who was an excellent employee but who I could not work with (we're still friends). She says that it was solely on her looks, but the circumstances ...

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:39 am

relevant. He could not work professionally around her. In such a case, who should leave, the owner PR the employee?

I maintain that they did the most logical thing they could think of.

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palindrome California
12/26/12 5:38 am

He also testified in court that she was an exemplary employee

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palindrome California
12/26/12 5:37 am

Kelly- what? What do you mean that's what SHE said? Knight said it. He said he was firing her because she was irresistible and he was afraid of getting into an affair with her later on down the road

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:32 am

That's what SHE said. That's not what Knight said nor what the circumstances suggest. I just don't buy it.

Why now? Because of the increasing sexual tension between them. She was fired for having an inappropriate working relationship with a supervisor; whether it was only perceived is not ...

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:28 am

And again - if this was SO unjust - what is the alternative?

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 5:27 am

I can conceive that it could have not been a sufficiently harassing environment. Why was she discussing her own sexual relationships at work? In any case, I don't think it deserves your level of righteous indignation; I'm inclined to defer to the courts, who surely have more facts and experience.

jeffro02
12/26/12 4:59 am

At will employment means you can quit or be terminated for any reason.

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palindrome California
12/26/12 2:29 am

not a lawful grounds for firing someone.

palindrome California
12/26/12 2:28 am

deny that the firing WASN'T for sexual reasons. The SCOTUS says you cannot hinge someone's employment on these terms at any time. Which means you can't fire people for reasons that are founded on a sexual/attraction basis either- WHATEVER they may be. Whatever the reason, YOUR sexual attraction is

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palindrome California
12/26/12 2:24 am

Knight fires Nelson because she's too attractive for him to resist. The law doesn't say there needs to be intercourse for a violation. It doesn't say there needs dialogue or physical contact. The SCOTUS says the atmosphere is sufficient. We can't deny the atmosphere didn't exist. And we also can't

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palindrome California
12/26/12 2:20 am

Kelly- I argue it was indeed an unlawful termination because the law prohibits firing an employee for sexual harassment. Knight fires Nelson bc he admits he harbors sexual feelings for her. It's not denied that Knight didn't send txt message of a sexual nature to Nelson. And then, all of a sudden,

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palindrome California
12/26/12 2:10 am

I think human and equal rights are more wonderful than property rights. We had a wonderful era of property rights. They brought us great triumphs in humanity such as: slavery, feudalism, serfdom, and so much more.

Property rights are great so long as you're not treated as a commodity

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palindrome California
12/26/12 1:58 am

No. It was only because of her looks and the possibility of a relationship. That was admitted by Knight. This isn't something he denies. The issue is whether or not you can fire someone for being irresistible and whether that is covered under the eeoc protections for women

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aph514
12/26/12 1:56 am

Id have to imagine that if a medical assistant union existed in IA, this probably wouldn't have gotten as far as it did.

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palindrome California
12/26/12 1:51 am

Softbatch- the court didn't say you can fire someone for any reason. They simply said you couldn't sue based on the plaintiffs argument. She would have easily won over sexual harassment. So, apparently, you CAN'T fire people for whatever reason you want. Read Article VII

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chile safer than congress
12/26/12 1:38 am

When did palindrome become the defacto expert on Iowa labor law?

palindrome California
12/26/12 12:51 am

Even the Justices said the terms Mr. Knight fired her on we're bad. They specifically referred to the "ungenerous one-month severance". This was not a kind act by any stretch of the imagination

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/26/12 12:03 am

@susanr He did pay her a month's severance, and for all we know he was going to give her good recommendations (he did say she was a good worker). Employers are not in the habit of finding jobs for their employees.

I agree it sucks for her, but I can't see how he did anything even unkind.

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teast
12/25/12 11:32 pm

The case is crap period. Come on..

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susanr Colorado
12/25/12 11:32 pm

Kelly - better solution: he talks to her as a human being, says the situation is untenable for him but since IT'S NOT HER FAULT, he will help her find another good position and write a great recommendation (she had been a great employee for 10 years). He does not fire her.

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RJ1969 SoCal
12/25/12 11:19 pm

fair assessment. according to federal law, it wouldn't float. her lawyer sucked!

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kaik12 Twin Cities, MN
12/25/12 11:16 pm

Yes, but only because they made the ruling in accordance to state law. They simply did their jobs as they were supposed to. I do completely disagree with the law, but for them to rule against the law while it's still in use would be wrong.

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RayX quit
12/25/12 10:09 pm

Her life was improved by the departure.
Now she wants millions not earned.

Ranks New Jersey
12/25/12 9:43 pm

She was fired for no fault of her own. She was discriminated for her looks good or bad

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truth1 Florida
12/25/12 9:25 pm

Nice retort

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kellyw The Mississippi Delta
12/25/12 8:52 pm

If she was only fired because of her looks, she wouldn't have worked there for ten years with no problems. The fact that only now she's described as "irresistible" tends to show that she was fired because of a burgeoning relationship.

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boeboe
12/25/12 7:38 pm

I dot think the question provides enough information for us to be judges. Obviously the Supreme Court had more evidence than this to rule in favor of the dentist

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RGirl
12/25/12 6:59 pm

But that doesn't mean firing someone because they are "Irrasistible".

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pjn0524 Pacific Northwest
12/25/12 6:38 pm

Seems silly he was fine with her for nearly ten yrs and two pregnancies, but lost his mind after that ...

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AnnieM The Island
12/25/12 6:13 pm

My mom had the "you're too experienced"/"you're over qualified" problem for a while. The only way she ended up getting a job was my dad hiring her to work as his secretary.
It's a crappy position to be in and it happens a lot.

Ronpaul2016
12/25/12 6:08 pm

A small business should be able to run its business however he/she likes

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rickvee Living the dream
12/25/12 6:02 pm

So I'm guessing all or most of the people who said no don't know what the term "at will employment" means...

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