State Supreme Court Rules ‘Irresistible’ Employees Can Be Fired

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Reader, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlin...rt-rules-irresistible-employees-can-be-fired/

    An Iowa dentist was within his legal rights when he fired a longtime employee he found to be “irresistible” and a threat to his marriage, the State Supreme Court unanimously ruled.

    The seven justices, all male, affirmed on Friday a lower court’s decision in favor of Dr. James Knight, who terminated Melissa Nelson after employing her for 10 and a half years as a dental assistant............

    Knight acknowledged in court documents that Nelson was good at her job and she, in turn, said she was generally treated with respect.

    When Nelson’s husband tried to reason with Knight, the dentist told him he “feared he would have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.” ...........more at link............
     
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  3. Cracka*Jaxx

    Cracka*Jaxx Active Member

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    Iowa is a 'Right To Work' State. From what I understand, in those States an employer can fire an employee for any reason whatsoever.
     
  4. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Traditionally, "right to work" means right to work whether or not you join a union, not right to terminate an employee in violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    This decision is outrageous! Unless the doctor was able to show his assistant was somehow encouraging his affection, his inability (or feared future inability) to control himself is not her problem.
     
  5. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    In this link:

    http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Stat...-Can-Fire-Irresistible-Workers-184521271.html

    it is written that the doctor and assistant exchanged flirtatious emails concerning her revealing attire. Certainly, the employer has a right to set a dress code. And perhaps the court found that both had gone beyond the bounds of a proper work relationship.

    But the court seems to have ruled that the termination was based on sexual allure rather than gender bias. I wonder if they asked the doctor whether he'd have the same problem with a male assistant?

    The link also quotes the fired woman's lawyer as saying her client has no other recourse. I wish I understood why this matter can't be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
     
  6. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    According to the link below, the Iowa Supreme Court specifically found that the terminated employee had NOT engaged in "flirtatious conduct" with her boss. Basically, it appears they found her blameless, yet responsible for her own termination.

    And her lovely boss gave her a whole month's severance after, IIRC, 10 years' employment!


    http://www.click2houston.com/news/I...rker/-/1735978/17873204/-/m3p49j/-/index.html

    (Crack, none of the links I can find mention the "right to work" principle, but the decision was based on the Iowa constitution, not the U.S.)
     
  7. zippitydoda

    zippitydoda Well-Known Member

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    Horrible decision... IMO- if the wifey thinks she solved that problem, she's only kidding herself.
     
  8. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Amen and worth repeating, zip.
     
  9. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl Enough Is Enough!

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    Which century are we living in, again? What a backwards decision!

    Seriously - how can a decision like that be deemed legal, in America, in the 21st Century? How is that possible?

    I am just thrown for a loop that a woman can fired because her boss is scared of his own lack of self-control. And/or his wife. ;)

    In either case, that employee should sue the pants off him. Pun intended.
     
  10. Skagirl

    Skagirl New Member

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    I live in Iowa and am studying to be a paralegal, lol.

    Here's a little inof about Iowa’s Right to Work law.
    http://www.nrtw.org/c/iartwlaw.htm

    Also, if an employee does not have a signed contract with their employer, they are considered an "at-will" employee, which means that the employment is voluntary and indefinite for both the employer and the employee. Either party can terminate the relationship at anytime.

    http://www.iowa-lawblog.com/2007/10/articles/employment-law/atwill-employment/
     
  11. buffetoflies

    buffetoflies Active Member

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    This will never apply to me! A 'benefit' of being a plain jane. :)
     
  12. HMSHood

    HMSHood Admiral-Class Battlecruiser

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  13. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

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    Yes as I understand it, an employer can fire you for any reason just like you can quit your job for any reason. That is if there is no contract and there is no violation of laws against discrimination. I think this case is discrimination so I don't see why it couldn't go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    When I heard this on the news today, they said that the doctor fired the woman because his wife wanted her gone. If that's what actually happened then maybe he should have fired his wife instead.
     
  14. txsvicki

    txsvicki Active Member

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    Who would want to have an affair with someone they already had worked with, saw every day, and seen aging over ten years. They, at least, should have been good friends or sick of each other. The flirty emails were inappropriate. Maybe he was in love with her?
     
  15. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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  16. Linda7NJ

    Linda7NJ Active Member

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    Wow, wonder if she volunteered to wear a burka to work she could have kept her job?

    It's disgusting to me that men have just been given a free pass to blame women for their inability to control themselves. What's next ? Start stoning raped women and pointing the finger at them for dressing a certain way?




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    First thought that came to mind with this ruling :Ignoramus
     
  18. Karmady

    Karmady Former Member

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    As someone linked above, Iowa is an employment-at-will state. She could be fired for no reason at all so long as there was no discrimination based on a protected classification. I haven't read the decision, but it sounds like the reason here was personal to the employee. The employer was attracted to her, specifically, not because she was a woman, in general. So they found no gender-based discrimination. It may seem unfair, and it may actually be unfair, but if the law allows it, it's legal.
     
  19. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    I agree. 10 years AND in a tiny office? After working with someone for a few years you know their good and bad sides, if there was a problem it wasn't "sudden lust".
     
  20. athy

    athy Active Member

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    i give the guy a small amount of credit realizing he was attracted to her and not wanting it to mess up his marriage. but i definitely think his way of dealing with it was wrong. he's making her pay for HIS problem instead of dealing with his own problem he fires her. geez
     
  21. lisser

    lisser New Member

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    Shouldn't the Dr have gone to counseling to figure out his issue with infidelity rather than fire a long-time employee?

    I have a feeling he either just got married and new wife was jealous, or if he has been married a long time, his wife was aging much faster that the female employee, and she felt threatened for no good reason.
     

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