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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default Iowa court: Bosses can fire 'irresistible' workers

    http://www.wowktv.com/story/20405244...stible-workers

    Posted: Dec 21, 2012 3:48 PM EST
    Updated: Dec 21, 2012 4:28 PM EST
    By RYAN J. FOLEY
    Associated Press
    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

    The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an "irresistible attraction," even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

    An attorney for Fort Dodge dentist James Knight said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for family values because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman.

    But Nelson's attorney said Iowa's all-male high court, one of only a handful in the nation, failed to recognize the discrimination that women see routinely in the workplace.

    "These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don't think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to monitor and control their bosses' sexual desires," said attorney Paige Fiedler. "If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it."

    Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

    He also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, "that's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it."

    Knight and Nelson - both married with children - started exchanging text messages, mostly about personal matters, such as their families. Knight's wife, who also worked in the dental office, found out about the messages and demanded Nelson be fired. The Knights consulted with their pastor, who agreed that terminating Nelson was appropriate.

    Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month's severance. He later told Nelson's husband that he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.

    Nelson was stunned because she viewed the 53-year-old Knight as a father figure and had never been interested in starting a relationship, Fiedler said.

    Nelson filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination, arguing she would not have been terminated if she was male. She did not allege sexual harassment because Knight's conduct may not have risen to that level and didn't particularly offend her, Fiedler said.

    Knight argued Nelson was fired not because of her gender, but because her continued employment threatened his marriage. A district judge agreed, dismissing the case before trial, and the high court upheld that ruling.

    Mansfield noted that Knight had an all-female workforce and Nelson was replaced by a woman.

    He said the decision was in line with state and federal court rulings that found workers can be fired for relationships that cause jealousy and tension within a business owner's family. One such case from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a business owner's firing of a valued employee who was seen by his wife as a threat to their marriage. In that case, the fired employee had engaged in flirtatious conduct.

    Mansfield said allowing Nelson's lawsuit would stretch the definition of discrimination to allow anyone fired over a relationship to file a claim arguing they would not have been fired but for their gender.

    Knight's attorney, Stuart Cochrane, said the court got it right. The decision clarified that bosses can make decisions showing favoritism to a family member without committing discrimination; in this case, by allowing Knight to honor his wife's wishes to fire Nelson, he said.

    Knight is a very religious and moral individual, and he sincerely believed that firing Nelson would be best for all parties, he said.

    "While there was really no fault on the part of Mrs. Nelson, it was just as clear the decision to terminate her was not related to the fact that she was a woman," he said. "The motives behind Dr. Knight terminating Mrs. Nelson were quite clear: He did so to preserve his marriage.

    "I don't view this as a decision that was either pro-women or opposed to women rights at all. In my view, this was a decision that followed the appropriate case law."

    Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    Family values my ass. Lawyers are disgusting snakes.

  2. #2
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.18.17 @ 09:38 AM
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    Seems to me there could've been a better way for him to handle it than outright firing her - maybe see if another dentist would be willing to trade employees or something.

  3. #3
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    I bet this one goes to the the Supreme Court...

  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! Rokgtar's Avatar
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    BTW - this thread is worthless WITHOUT PICS!

  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Hang 'Em High RRMB's Avatar
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    05.21.17 @ 06:42 PM
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    I'm usually excited about my state leading the way on a lot of things. This...notsomuch.

    I'm pretty angry about this. I think the two comments he made about his pants bulging and her sex life went WAY over the line. The fact that his lawyer threw in the fact he's a well respected business man and religious leader in his church, made this a case of discrimination.

    Like people who do mass shootings, when are we going to stop blaming everything else, EXCEPT that person's self-control issues as to why a person is an asshole. In shootings it's the guns, video games, etc. Not that the parents were dumbasses, or the kid was mentally disturbed and didn't get the help he needed.

    In this one, in essence, it was HER (the assistant) fault for having good genes. But not his fault for being a fucking asshole that couldn't keep his fucking mouth shut and his thoughts to himself. And not his wife's fault, for possibly being a prudish, stick in the mud, or a complete an utter bitch, that doesn't put out anymore. Therefore, the assistant is a threat to her. because their marriage is, possibly, and empty facade at this point.
    Last edited by RRMB; 12.22.12 at 11:09 AM.
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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    12.04.17 @ 04:15 PM
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    Agreed, RRMB.

    This, for me, was the key bit:

    "These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don't think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to monitor and control their bosses' sexual desires," said attorney Paige Fiedler. "If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it."

    It is an absolutely disgraceful decision - but hardly surprising, given that the court consists entirely of men. Sadly, this bears more than a passing resemblance to the Middle-Eastern patriarchal insistence on women wearing full burkas so as to prevent male lust getting out of control...As you suggested, RRMB, it really is rather pathetic that certain (powerful) men seek to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their own actions - and, instead, choose to pass the buck onto women.

    I hope that the woman involved is able to get some sort of financial recompense for this - it's a landmark case in many ways.
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  8. #8
    Top Of The World AtomicPunk91's Avatar
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    This is the same stupid logic like 'the woman was asking for it by the way she dresses/acts' rape excuse.

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility and self control? Whatever happened to judges with common sense and an actual brain?
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  9. #9
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    an employer should have the right to dismiss an employee at his/her disrection. Even if the reason is as silly as "this woman is so hot i'm afraid i'll say or do something stupid" then that should still be his/her decision. My issue is more with the "I'll give you 4 weeks pay and good luck in the future". If this man was so weak that he couldn't control himself then at the very least he needed to come to some sort of financial agreement with her that she was more than satisfied with.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    an employer should have the right to dismiss an employee at his/her disrection. Even if the reason is as silly as "this woman is so hot i'm afraid i'll say or do something stupid"
    NOPE

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    an employer should have the right to dismiss an employee at his/her disrection. Even if the reason is as silly as "this woman is so hot i'm afraid i'll say or do something stupid" then that should still be his/her decision. My issue is more with the "I'll give you 4 weeks pay and good luck in the future". If this man was so weak that he couldn't control himself then at the very least he needed to come to some sort of financial agreement with her that she was more than satisfied with.
    Are you fucking serious!?!?!? This is blatant sexism. I don't know human rights and employment laws there, but up here she would definitely win both human rights and wrongful termination.

    I have to admit Mike, sometimes I wonder why you live in Canada. You don't seem to embrace our values very much...just sayin'...

  12. #12
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdnangel View Post
    Are you fucking serious!?!?!? This is blatant sexism. I don't know human rights and employment laws there, but up here she would definitely win both human rights and wrongful termination.

    I have to admit Mike, sometimes I wonder why you live in Canada. You don't seem to embrace our values very much...just sayin'...

    I live in the real world. Most people would trump up a reason to fire her and do that.

    The guy should have been charged with sexual harrasment earlier but that's another matter.

    Not sure which "values" I don't embrace

  13. #13
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocknblues81 View Post
    NOPE

    U think an empolyer should have so say over who works for them, really? Good luck with that

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    I live in the real world. Most people would trump up a reason to fire her and do that.

    The guy should have been charged with sexual harrasment earlier but that's another matter.

    Not sure which "values" I don't embrace
    Real world my ass.

    In a country with as many stupid people as we have here, employers having the ability to fire people for such stupid reasons is very dangerous.

  15. #15
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocknblues81 View Post
    Real world my ass.



    In a country with as many stupid people as we have here, employers having the ability to fire people for such stupid reasons is very dangerous.

    They already do. No court or govt can force this person to have that job if the employer is against it. Why? He can end the business.

    This is about an employer who wants to fire someone without cause. He'll need to pay her a healthy premium for this reason. Happens all the fucking time.

 

 

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