Making sure you’re on time to work each day, performing your job well, and being friendly with those you work with sounds like a few sure fire ways to hang on to your job. But what if you happen to be really attractive to your employer? A recent ruling in Iowa’s Supreme Court asserts an employer has the legal right to fire an employee if he/she finds their attractiveness a distraction and threat to their marriage.
Today reports about the ruling that came down after a dentist, James Knight, fired an assistant, Melissa Nelson, who had worked for him for a long time. He stated his reason for firing her was because over the years he had grown too attracted to her and worried he may cheat on his wife. Knight ended up firing her after his wife found text messages between them and felt threatened.
It seems natural that a close friendship between boss and employee may develop after years of working together, but what if the employer sees the relationship as more than just friendly? Nelson, who is two decades younger than Knight, says she thought of her employer more like a father-figure and had no intention of starting a romantic relationship with him. Chief Justice Mark Cady believes that even with that being the case the relationship between boss and employee still went beyond “the reasonable parameters of workplace interaction.”
Nelson’s attorney has argued that her client being fired is a blatant example of gender inequality in action. But Iowa’s Supreme Court stuck by their ruling stating that this particular firing was more motivated by feelings rather than gender. Chief Justice Mark Cady explains, “Nelson was terminated because of the activities of her consensual personal relationship with her employer, not because of her gender.”
What do you think about this ruling in Iowa?
Do you think an employer has the legal right to fire an employee if they find their attraction to them to be a threat to their marriage?
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