Can a dentist fire a pretty dental assistant because his wife is jealous and thinks the assistant is a threat to their marriage? Or is this “sex discrimination”?
According to the Iowa Supreme Court, it’s legal to fire someone for being too attractive.
Melissa Nelson worked for dentist James Knight, and apparently the two flirted occasionally. Despite the flirting, Nelson said she never felt harassed in any way. By all accounts, she was happy and capable in her job.
But when Knight’s wife found out that her husband and Nelson had been texting each other, she became upset and demanded that Nelson be fired.
Nelson sued. She argued that her firing was “sex discrimination,” because she wouldn’t have been terminated if she had been male.
But the Iowa court sided with the dentist. It said the firing was legal because Knight wasn’t motivated by negative stereotypes about female employees, but simply by a desire to placate his wife.