It is legal to fire attractive women because they are attractive

How bizarre.

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday stood by its 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.

Coming to the same conclusion as it did in December, the all-male court found that bosses can fire employees they see as threats to their marriages, even if the subordinates have not engaged in flirtatious or other inappropriate behavior. The court said such firings do not count as illegal sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender.

The ruling upholds a judge’s decision to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit filed against Fort Dodge dentist James Knight, who fired assistant Melissa Nelson, even while acknowledging she had been a stellar employee for 10 years. Knight and his wife believed that his attraction to Nelson — two decades younger than the dentist — had become a threat to their marriage. Nelson, now 33, was replaced by another woman; Knight had an all-female staff. [Does he find the other woman ugly? - Aggie]

The all-male court issued its revised opinion Friday in the case after taking the unusual step last month of withdrawing its December opinion, which had received nationwide publicity, debate and criticism.

Nelson’s attorney, Paige Fiedler, had asked the court in January to reconsider, calling the decision a blow for gender and racial equity in the workplace. She had warned the opinion could allow bosses to legally fire dark-skinned blacks and replace them with light-skinned blacks or small-breasted workers in favor of big-breasted workers.

Ummm, if an employer claims to have a thing for African Americans, can he or she fire them because it might hurt his marriage? If an employer feels oppressed because he feels forced to hire Latinos, so as not to come up against anti-discrimmination laws, can he now fire them because his anger or sadness is affecting his marriage? What if you can only work around redheads, because all the other hair colors turn you on?

Ok, I understand that the broader picture is that we are a nation of men, not laws, and none of this matters. But it is peculiar.

- Aggie

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