Is it okay to fire an employee for being too pretty?

The all-male Iowa Supreme Court said Friday that it would reconsider its 2012 ruling that 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.

Melissa Nelson, who had sued the dentist for gender discrimination,  had fought against the court’s decision.

"Not only does this breathe new life into her court case, it eliminates what many of us believed was a harmful legal and misguided precedent," her lawyer told ABC News.

A Des Moines lawyer with no role in the case told the network that the justices will likely issue a new opinion.

"There really is no reason to grant rehearing six months after the decision was made unless someone is seriously considering changing their mind," Ryan Koopmans, the lawyer, told ABC News. "I think we'll definitely see at least one opinion in favor of Melissa, the question is whether it is the majority opinion or dissenting opinion." (read more)

Tags: attraction, employment, sexual

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Hay the story has no other pictures!

The business world is ruthless, where money is first priority than the people they exploit..

Two things:

First, the main purpose of any business is to make money for its owners, not to provide jobs for anybody. This isn't ruthlessness, it just recognizes the realities of investment and competition. The owners have invested their own cash (or cash they borrowed on their own credit and risk) and have probably invested many unpaid hours to run the business before it inched into the black. Think about this before accusing business of being ruthess.

Secondly, any business who fires a good employee for a frivolous reason is harming itself.

That is why this planet is going to pot, due to the lack of empathy and respect for life, which is people, fauna and flora, and the planet, since money and competition is first priority.. its a rat race, something enough to trigger off drama, anxiety, stress, wars, and so on so forth.,

I agree it does harm itself, but as well as the person they fired, because they have bills etc to pay off and so on... its a nightmare.

The dude fucked her over. Is it okay? No. It's operating in bad faith. After ten years you think that there would be some indication that employment would continue provided it made business sense and her performance remained up to standards. The reality? He would (and did) fire her arbitrarily. Money and job security are important in this age. While there is no such thing as perfect job security in life, employers and employees have to have some mutual understanding of dependability  or if it's a situation where there can be none, that much has to be made clear. When I worked on a probation period, I knew my employment could be terminated without being provided a reason. I lived differently as a result. The one with the issue is the dentist's wife, yet the one suffering the lion's share of damages is the assistant.

Should it be illegal? I don't know. It would be so much easier if we could live in a world in which people stop being dicks. I think she is entitled to more than one month's severance after ten years of service. Was that in her contract or is it part of labour laws? Apparently not, but does everything have to be legislated down to the bone? That's the fallout of operating without trust or decency. We have to take one another down to the letter of contracts or the law. It's just no way to live.

Often people find that being let go was the best thing that ever happened to them. People often stay at their job due to inertia. Being laid off or fired breaks that spell.

It's possible, but incidental. Often it just results in immediate financial losses and stress. He didn't fire her for her own good, and even if he did, he is not her custodian with the right to make decisions on her behalf. He made a decision to terminate employment on his behalf for his needs. The law (thus far) holds that this is his right, but 'can' ≠ 'should'.

True that 'can' ≠ 'should'. And now she's making sure he pays a price. This is going to cost him some of his practice even before he pays out in the civil suit that, no doubt, is coming. Simply because he got a pass over the Federal suit doesn't in any way preclude her suing him in civil court under tort law.

It had to be America, didn't it?

You don't have the right to fire someone because they're attractive. You do have the right, however, to change their dress code to prevent them from being attractive at work. Do the honorable thing and talk to the person who poses the supposed threat and work it out like adults.

I beg to differ. In many, perhaps most states, one has the right to hire and fire "at will," which means for no particular reason other than you want to. Remember, businesses don't exist for the benefit of their employees, they exist for the benefit of their owners.

Exceptions include firing based on sex, which would be shown by a history of preferring male candidatrs, or race, which would be shown by a history of overlooking qualified minority members in favor of white candidates.

I take it that this dentist, if anything, has preferred female candidates and Melissa's replacement is also female.

There may be a civil case where the standard is fairly low, but I think the dentist is off the hook for now. But in any case, his right to fire her is not in question.

RE: "You do have the right, however, to change their dress code to prevent them from being attractive at work." - yeah, that'd work:

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