Court Rules Firing Of Attractive Assistant Was Legal

IOWA CITY, Iowa (July 12, 2013)--The Iowa Supreme Court is standing by its earlier ruling that a dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant because he found her too attractive and worried he would try to start an affair with her.

The court ruled Friday that employers can fire employees they consider to be a threat to their marriages, even if the subordinates have not engaged in flirtatious behavior.

Such firings are not unlawful sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender, the court said.

That’s the same decision the court reached in December, when justices dismissed a lawsuit by Melissa Nelson against Fort Dodge dentist James Knight.

After a barrage of criticism for the ruling, Nelson's attorney asked for reconsideration and the all-male court took the rare step of withdrawing the opinion.

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