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Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:59 PM

Iowa Court: Bosses Can Fire 'Irresistible' Workers

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."


http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/iowa-court-bosses-fire-irresistible-workers-18038838#.UNX7hnfP_sO

13 replies, 1161 views

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:02 PM

1. Oh HELL no.

If men can't be held accountable then they can't be an all-male judiciary. FFS...

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:11 PM

2. I don't understand why people are surprised

There are very specific discrimination laws about specific types of discrimination that are not allowed. Anything that falls outside of being discriminated based on gender, age, and the other types of outlawed categories, is legal. I could be fired because someone doesn't like the color of my shoes.. Or the way I walk...

I'm not arguing that it should be this way but this verdict was completely expected.

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Response to Terry_M (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:30 PM

5. Yes, and isn't the legal logic of laws against discrimination derived from how wrong it is to hurt

people for traits that they were born with, stuff they can't do anything about, like gender, like the date they were born/age, like ethnicity . . .?

All factors that the persons cannot control, cannot make choices about in order to mitigate other people's issues with them - so whatever your "problem" with them is, it's something that they can't acquiesce to your issues with you on whatever, they have no power to change the causes of prejudice, bigotry, bias, and discrimination, even if they wanted to, so it's unjust to allow others to hurt them by means of discrimination in work places and elsewhere.

I understand the limitations you are referring to in regards to our laws against discrimination, I am just trying to identify the root causes of the various instances of discrimination you cite and suggest that there are other such phenomena that fulfill the essential criteria for what constitutes discrimination.

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Response to Terry_M (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:16 PM

8. in this case a male employee would not have been fired.

yes you can be fired for reasons having nothing to do with gender

but this case obviously had a lot to do with gender.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:19 PM

3. "at will" employment is legal discrimination, in this case against traits the person, who happened

be a woman, was BORN with.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:24 PM

4. Poor helpless man... this is the attitude that puts women in burkas

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:34 PM

6. So much in our culture is devolving to the lowest common denominator. This is infantilization . . .

in this case, the infantilization of men, men infantilizing themselves, possibly with the encouragement of some church.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:49 PM

7. Wow, those screaming about sharia law were RIGHT!

 

IT seems to me sharia law always blames the woman, just like this decision.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:17 PM

9. Reading the entire decision is more interesting than reading the news story...


There was more going on than that...

http://www.iowacourts.gov/Supreme_Court/Recent_Opinions/20121221/11-1857.pdf


Nelson’s arguments warrant serious consideration, but we ultimately think a distinction exists between (1) an isolated employment decision based on personal relations (assuming no coercion or quid pro quo), even if the relations would not have existed if the employee had been of the opposite gender, and (2) a decision based on gender itself. In the former case, the decision is driven entirely by individual feelings and emotions regarding a specific person. Such a decision is not gender-based, nor is it based on factors that might be a proxy for gender.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:19 PM

10. The Bush Doctrine for your penis...

because you might want to fuck her someday....
Whatever happen to personal accountability ?

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:57 PM

11. From the article:

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.




Poor guy, that Eeeeeevil Temptress made him get a boner.

He has no one to blame but his own baser instincts.


What a shitheel.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:05 PM

12. So is the guy saying this wasn't gender related because he's bi?

That it could just as easily have been a man he was falling for, but it just happened to be her?

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 05:31 PM

13. Sexual harrasment

Their decision supports a prima facia claim of sexual harrasment

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