Melissa Nelson, a dental secretary, is fired for being “too attractive”
Melissa Nelson worked as a dental assistant for ten years. Then one day in 2010 she was incredulously fired for being “too attractive” and a “threat” to her employer’s marriage. Nelson said: “I think it is completely wrong. I think it is sending a message that men can do whatever they want in the work force.” On Friday, an all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled in her employer’s favor!
Stuart Cochrane, James Knight (employer) said: “We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right. Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She’s an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.”
Nelson and Cochrane never engaged in sexual relationship. Nelson does say that in the last eighteen months of her employment Knight made comments about her “tight” clothes. The justices that ruled in Knight’s favor admitted that “Dr. Knight acknowledges he once told Nelson that if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing.”
Six months before her termination the two began exchanging text messages about work and personal matters. For example they would ask how their children were doing. Knight one day texted Nelson asking her “how often she experiences an orgasm.” His wife saw the message and after visiting with his pastor he decided to fire her.
Knight believes he can fire her because she had an “at-will employment.” Meaning she could be fired at any time without notice. The only problem is that she can’t be fired for discriminatory reasons. He argues that this case isn’t discriminatory because she wasn’t fired for her gender. Knight in fact had given Nelson great reviews. He maintains it had nothing to do with her work ethic. He was just fearful he would end having an affair with her one day. As if she would want him.
This dentist is extremely perverted. I agree with Nelson. Firing someone because she is too attractive is discriminatory. Knight made it clear it wasn’t a work related issue. Not only do I think Nelson should win an appeal but I think she should sue for sexual harassment. His actions are without a doubt not only unprofessional but illegal. This guy is a creep.
What do you think?
Should she have been fired?
Do you think being “too attractive” should be considered a form of discrimination?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate