Sometimes a news story comes along that we find reprehensible. The all-male Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled that a dentist was within his legal rights when he fired a woman who had worked for him for 10 years due to her “irresistible” physical appearance. The pair had never had a sexual relationship.
Regardless, the dentist and his wife thought the woman, Melissa Nelson, was a threat to their marriage. Nelson filed a suit alleging gender discrimination.
According to the high court’s decision, [James] Knight complained to Nelson toward the end of her employment that her clothes were tight and “distracting.” Cochrane said Knight asked her repeatedly to dress differently.
Nelson denied that what she wore was out of place, and when asked by CNN’s [Don] Lemon whether she dressed appropriately at work, she said she wore scrubs.
At one point, Knight told Nelson that “if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing,” the decision read.
But wait — there’s more!
At another point, in response to an alleged comment Nelson made about the infrequency of her sex life, Knight responded: [T]hat’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.”
He also said that Nelson hadn’t done anything wrong, and that “she was the best dental assistant he ever had.”
We say: This verdict is scary for women, who — at least in this state — can now be fired on a whim by men based on their perceived sex appeal (or lack thereof) and regardless of their job performance. We’re beyond disappointed in you, Iowa.
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