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
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.
- Bosses can legally fire employees they see as an ‘irresistible attraction’: Iowa court (news.nationalpost.com)
- Woman Fired for Being ‘Irresistible’; Iowa Court Rules in Favor of Boss who Terminated Her (blackamericaweb.com)
- The Law of ‘Irresistible Attraction’: In Iowa, If Your Boss Thinks You’re Hot, You’re Probably Going to Need to Find Another Job (abovethelaw.com)
- Iowa Court: Bosses Can Fire ‘Irresistible’ Workers (tojoyamatodo.newsvine.com)
- You Can’t Be Serious: Iowa Woman Fired By Thirsty Azz Boss For Being “Too Attractive” (bossip.com)
- Melissa Nelson case: U.S. state court says bosses can fire workers they consider ‘irresistibly attractive’ (vancouversun.com)
- Firing Workers For Being Too Sexy Approved By Iowa Supreme Court (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Iowa court: Bosses can fire ‘irresistible’ workers (denverpost.com)
- Iowa Court: Bosses Can Fire ‘Irresistible’ Workers (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Iowa Supreme Court Rules Against Irresistible Employee Claiming She Was Fired for Being too Attractive (musingsofanamericangirl.wordpress.com)