Iowa court: ‘Irresistible’ fired woman not sex discrimination victim

Dec. 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM
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FORT DODGE, Iowa, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- An Iowa woman fired for being "irresistible" to her boss says a court decision against her was unfair.

Melissa Nelson told CNN, "The last couple of days have just been an emotional roller coaster. I'm trying to stay strong. It's tough. I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right."

An Iowa Supreme Court judge said the allegations do not amount to sex discrimination.

Dentist James Knight, whose business is in Fort Dodge, fired dental assistant Nelson, an employee of 10 years, because she presented too much of a distraction and jeopardized his relationship with his wife, CNN reported Sunday.

The Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's ruling that the employment termination did not amount to sex discrimination under the state's civil rights act.

Knight's wife discovered in 2009 that Knight and Nelson were sending text messages to each other and demanded her husband fire Nelson, which he did in 2010, CNN reported.

Knight told Nelson near the end of her employment that her clothing was "distracting," but Nelson said she wore scrubs at work, CNN reported.

The court's decision said Knight told Nelson "if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing," and that Knight said in reply to Nelson's alleged comment about her infrequent sex life, "That's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it."

In siding with Knight, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward M. Mansfield wrote on behalf of the court, "The issue before us is not whether a jury could find that Dr. Knight treated Nelson badly. We are asked to decide only if a genuine fact issue exists as to whether Dr. Knight engaged in unlawful gender discrimination when he fired Nelson at the request of his wife."

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