Melissa Nelson(Photo: Provided to The Des Moines Register)
The Iowa Supreme Court is standing by its earlier 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.
The court ruled Friday that bosses can fire employees they see as a threat to their marriages, even if the subordinates have not engaged in flirtatious behavior. The court says such firings are not unlawful sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender.
Court Ruling Full Document
It's the same outcome the court reached in December, when justices dismissed a lawsuit by Melissa Nelson against Fort Dodge dentist James Knight. After a barrage of criticism for the ruling, Nelson's attorney asked for reconsideration and the all-male court took the rare step of withdrawing the opinion.
CBS affiliate KCCI reports that Knight and his wife believed Nelson's continued employment would threaten their marriage. Her replacement was a woman.