IOWA CITY — The Iowa Supreme Court says a dentist did not commit sex discrimination when he fired an attractive female assistant he viewed as a threat to his marriage.

The court ruled Friday that a boss can fire an employee he considers an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employee has done nothing wrong. The decision is the first in Iowa, but in line with rulings elsewhere.

Justices rejected a discrimination lawsuit filed by Melissa Nelson, who was fired by Fort Dodge dentist James Knight in 2010.

Nelson had worked in Knight’s office for 10 years. She and Knight eventually started texting outside work about personal matters. Knight’s wife, who also worked at the office, found out and demanded Nelson’s firing.

Knight’s lawyer says the court’s decision is “in favor of family values.”

(8) comments


Are these the same judges that made gay marriage legal in this state? I think not! Relationship between the two, is the ruling of discrimination.


The reality is that an employer can almost always find a reason to get rid of an employee. That this one was honest about why is what is unusual. When an employer hires you he isn't making a lifetime commitment to you. He could have easily waited until she was late for work a couple of times or missed a day, or was a bit rude to a patient.


I guess it is time to give all the girlys using contraception the pink slip. Get rid of all the bad girls.


In this very short story we can not find out all the facts. It does state that the two exchanged personal emails - what did the women say in these emails?? was it of a sexual nature?? if it was then yes to preserve his marrage he has a right to get rid of the women. You can only comment when the whole story is known. I am not taking sides here since I do not know the complete story just stating that there are always two side.


I agree....and as far as the "insecure spouse" goes, she could very well be 50% owner of the business via marriage, giving her plenty of EXQC911 said, always two sides to a story. My first thought is the assistant got the shaft...but then I really couldn't say one way or the other based on this article.


Well...what can I say..only in the UK the guys case would have been kicked into touch. Basically this ruling means that any sleaze ball....can decide for whatever reason to get shot of a worker for any reason....and make up a stupid reason such as this. How would the judge feel if they had been thrown out of the job because another more senior job found them too sexy to work with. America needs to start sorting out their problems....whether that be idiot employers or nutcases with guns.


This is utterly ridiculous. Why should this woman lose her job and not be compensated because this dentist couldn't control his "sinful" nature? So, someone can just fire you at will because "they" are out of control in Iowa? This is a shame!!! Women are born with delicacies that are meant to entice our mates. Those are for our spouses. We can't help it if someone looks at them, but we sure can keep their hands off! This insecure spouse should never have that much authority over someone else's job. This dentist better hire all men to do the job then or a very ugly woman. This excuse can be used to fire anyone nowadays then. Looks like some new supreme court judges are needed in the state of Iowa. These laws are getting more strange every day.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

agree the law has tilted way to far in favor of the employer we need to make it harder to fire persons with out cause and these tougher standards need to go hand in hand with protection for those who don't attend college .

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