Bosses can legally fire women for being too attractive

Melissa Nelson, the woman fired by James Knight for being too attractive to work with. Clearly she should know better.

Melissa Nelson, the woman fired by James Knight for being too attractive to work with. Clearly she should know better.

In Australia, what I’m about to describe to you is, to date, deemed “unfair dismissal” and is therefore illegal behaviour. But our friends over the Pacific, the United States Of America, tell a different story.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

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.

So, according to Iowa, legality is deemed through actions motivated by “feelings and emotions”. Huh.

I don’t see how this definition fails to open a can of worms for other firings, or indeed crimes, based on “feelings and emotions”. If you’re in Iowa and feel like punching an employee in the face? Fire them. Have homophobia and can’t work with them? Fire the gay employee. After all, they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender or orientation.

People deserve better than this. This ruling isn’t technically directed at women, as the same could technically happen to a man in the same position whose boss was female, however, I’d like to see the all male court rule in favour if the genders were reversed. It looks like “most” of the time, this sort of firing would affect women and the precedent has the huge potential to be exploited.

An attorney said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for family values because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman.

But Nelson’s attorney said Iowa’s all-male high court, one of only a handful in the nation, failed to recognize the discrimination that women see routinely in the workplace.

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.”

Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

Source: The Sun Times 

Knight and Nelson — both married with children — started exchanging text messages, mostly about personal matters, such as their families. Knight’s wife, who also worked in the dental office, found out about the messages and demanded Nelson be fired. The Knights consulted with their pastor, who agreed that terminating Nelson was appropriate.

Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month’s severance. He later told Nelson’s husband he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.

Source:  The Daily Mail

James Knight appears to me to be a sexist dickhead with no self control and also appears to be a pushover by a threatened, vindictive wife. | Intentious

James Knight appears to me to be a sexist dickhead with no self control and also appears to be a pushover by a threatened, vindictive wife. | Intentious

I don’t even know if I need to say anything more to damn this guy in the eyes of the public. Are there really people out there who back this man? If so, come forward and state your case.

To me, James Knight is clearly a dickhead who refuses to take responsibility for, or control his own emotions. And don’t get me started on that wife. Just look at her. What a fucking bitch. You don’t punish the innocent because your husband can’t keep it in his pants.

Perhaps this goes deeper, perhaps it was all driven by the wife, dragging him along to their local priest and all the rest, and the husband is being puppeteered to go along with this ordeal. I wonder if she offered any sexual favours to the all male court judges to grant the verdict in her favour? Ha! Irony.

At least there has been some karma. James Knight’s dental practice listing has been butt-raped on Yelp, one of the world’s most popular recommendation sites. Check it out, 1 star out of five, and some vehement comments. Ha ha!

But on a more serious extrapolation, can you imagine if criminals got away with this reasoning? It’s basically throwing a potential victim in jail because a person feels like assaulting them. Where’s the logic?

In some countries, having said “if my pants are bulging that is a sign your clothes are too revealing” it’s just as appropriate to find the boss lacking tact and failing to address a sensitive issue without verbose sexuality, ie: an inappropriate way to approach this subject in the workplace, which would call for sexual harassment.

Finally, an all male court hardly seems like fair representation for any sexual discrimination law case in the 2010s. Time to act a little more grown up. I hope for the sake of women everywhere that Melissa Nelson appeals and wins.

The USA is better than this, so I hope this one court ruling doesn’t trickle across the rest of the country or indeed over the pond to other countries. We should all be more mature and learn that responsibility for your feelings and actions lies with you, not with anyone else.

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Business, Gender issues, Politics, Law

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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6 Comments on “Bosses can legally fire women for being too attractive”

  1. gwallan
    December 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    “I don’t even know if I need to say anything more to damn this guy in the eyes of the public. Are there really people out there who back this man? If so, come forward and state your case.”

    Saw coverage of this a while back and a number of instances were mentioned. Absolutely guarantee that the wives of the business owners concerned have a great deal to do with it.

  2. Caroline Wilson
    January 22, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    I’m quite stunned that this behavior is on. These bosses are men not little boys and mshould be able to control their actions.

    • gwallan
      January 24, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      They can’t control the actions of their jealous spouses however nor would you permit them that control.

  3. no
    January 31, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    Sounds like she was warned more than once about how she was presenting herself at work being inappropriate. You’re complaining about being required to cover oneself with clothing at work?

  4. April 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here.

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