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Iowa court confirms dental assistant’s firing because she was too attractive

By Daniel S Levine,

An Iowa court said that it was perfectly OK for a dentist to fire his female assistant because she was too attractive.

Back in 2010, dentist James Knight fired Melissa Nelson, who worked with him for a decade. He claimed that she was “irresistible” and that he would likely have an affair if he didn’t fire her, reports NBC News. Court documents say that he made the decision after his wife found text messages between the two.

Knight added that Nelson’s clothes were “distracting” and he didn’t think it was “good” for him to “see her wearing things that accentuate her body.” Nelson said that she always put a coat on whenever he complained, though.

Knight and his wife’s pastor approved of their decision to fire Nelson.

Nelson sued over sex discrimination, but Knight countered that she was fired to save his marriage. He said he had nothing against women and even hired another woman to replace Nelson. The district court agreed with Knight and Nelson filed an appeal. Still, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court agreed with Knight.

“The last couple of days have just been an emotional roller coaster,” Nelson, who is also married with children, told CNN. “I'm trying to stay strong. It's tough. I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right.”

“The court got it absolutely right,” Knight’s attorney, Stuart Cochrane, told CNN. “He and his wife really agonized about it...He didn't want to terminate her.”

 

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