Court rules that a woman can be fired for being too hot
A male boss hires an attractive young woman. The man's wife gets jealous. And the employee gets fired through no fault of her own.
When this happened in the dental office of James Knight in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dental assistant Melissa Nelson filed a sex-discrimination suit.
According to a Supreme Court of Iowa decision, she worked there for 10-and-a-half years. On several occasions, Knight "complained" to her that her clothing distracted him because it was too tight.
"Dr. Knight acknowledges he once told Nelson that if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing," wrote Justice Edward Mansfield.
Even though Nelson denied that her clothing was inappropriate for the dental office, she was still canned after Knight's wife learned they were texting messages to one another.
According to the ruling, the married couple consulted with their pastor, who agreed with the decision.
Nelson pointed out that sexual harassment violated the state's antidiscrimination law. Therefore, she argued that the boss should have to pay for firing someone to avoid sexual harassment.
But Mansfield didn't buy it and upheld the dentist's decision to dismiss his assistant. In the ruling's footnote, the judge noted that Knight allegedly told Nelson's husband that he "feared that he would try to have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her".
The moral of the story—in Iowa, at least—is that the wife of a male boss can get female employees fired without cause, just as long as she suspects that her husband is thinking about having an affair.