It’s a headline that sounds too controversial to be true, but for stunned residents in Iowa, the truth really is stranger than fiction after the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of a boss who allegedly fired his 32-year-old dental assistant for being too attractive.
The 32-year-old woman had worked for her 53-year-old boss for 10 years, and he had always considered her a “stellar worker.” She had always considered her boss to be like a father figure, and when they began conversing via text messages, she thought nothing out of the ordinary. They mostly chatted about personal matters such as their families-they were both married and had children-but when he began asking sexually personal questions, it appeared that he had different feelings about their relationship than she did.
In the final months of her employed, he allegedly began complaining that her attire was distracting, once even telling her that if his pants were bulging then she would know her clothing was too revealing. At the request of the man’s wife, she was fired which she quickly responded to with a lawsuit pointing out that she would not have been terminated if she had been a man.
Despite what some could view as sexual harassment and discrimination on the boss’ part, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court disagreed stating that because he and his wife viewed the assistant as a threat to their marriage, the boss was within his legal right to fire her.
Many people across the nation, including many here in Indiana, disagree with the decision because it acknowledges no wrongdoing on the part of the boss. The woman’s attorney agrees, pointing out that this ruling sends a message to women that men are not held responsible for their sexual desires and that women in the workplace must constantly fear termination because their employer finds them attractive.
Source: ABC News, “Melissa Nelson fired for being ‘irresistible’; Iowa court rules in favor of boss who terminated her,” The Associated Press, Dec. 23, 2012