In Iowa you can be fired for being too pretty

posted at 2:31 pm on December 22, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

One of the wilder stories from the judicial branch to cross our desk in some time popped up this weekend. Our tale takes place in an Iowa dentist’s office, where an attractive, married woman works as a dental assistant. After ten years on the job providing what the dentist himself described as “stellar” performance, she was fired because she was too attractive and represented a threat to the owner’s marriage. There was no affair. There was no allegation of an affair. But the dentist’s wife also worked there and, after discovering some personal (not sexual) text messages between the two, she wanted the woman gone. The assistant went to court claiming unjust termination. There’s no way that one holds up, right? Wrong.

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, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

An attorney for Fort Dodge dentist James Knight said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for family values because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman.

Someone I frequently turn to when I need to understand the byzantine maze of the legal system, Dr. James Joyner, seems to feel that this was pretty much the correct call.

As weird and embarrassing as this case is, it’s a reasonable decision in the narrow case of a sole proprietorship. Should the boss be able to work with women he finds attractive and resist crossing boundaries of professionalism? Sure. But, if it’s his shop, he should have the right to remove the temptation.

This obviously becomes more problematic in a larger firm, especially when the supervisor isn’t also the owner. In those cases, asking for reassignments or just moving on to another firm are more appropriate solutions. But that’s unreasonable if it’s your firm.

I suppose that’s why I’m not a lawyer, since this simply doesn’t make any sense. But I don’t want to confuse the right to manage your own business with the need to provide a sensible justification here. The dentist is the business owner and proprietor as well as the service provider. He has the right to operate his business as he sees fit, and employers generally don’t have to provide all that much of a reason for terminating employment beyond saying, “this just isn’t working out.”

But in this case he felt compelled to provide a reason, turning what would have otherwise been just one of millions of cases of a worker getting laid off into a national media circus. Reading the full article, it sounds a lot less like he wanted to terminate the assistant himself, but was forced into it by threats from his wife. This sounds stunningly unprofessional, but was it illegal? I suppose that question has been answered now. But “being too attractive” as a reason to be discharged from your job still just sounds wrong. (Not that I’ll ever be in danger of falling into that particular trap, of course.)


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Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination

Law is not supposed to make all of life fair.

itsnotaboutme on December 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Where’s Tina Korbe these days?

DarkCurrent on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

It’s called “at will” employment. You can be fired for any reason or no reason at all at any time. The majority of Americans work under that assumption and that is as it should be. Get over it.

echosyst on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Guess that sees to it all those d gals in dc will still have a job?

Not many easy on the eyes?
L

letget on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

There is NO RIGHT to a job. Period. You work at the will of the person paying you. Is this now such a wild-eyed right wing position?

Wine_N_Dine on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

“But in this case he felt compelled to provide a reason…”

LESSON LEARNED: never tell your employees the truth.

Pork-Chop on December 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Anybody who complains about this should be reminded of the advantages in life that attractive people receive for know other reason whatsoever.

Mark1971 on December 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM

I suppose that’s why I’m not a lawyer, since this simply doesn’t make any sense.

If I owned a business, I would want the right to hire and/or fire anyone I wanted, for any reason I choose.
If I do wrong, the free market (as well as the Judge in Heaven) ought to be what punishes me, not Big Brother.
Because law is not supposed to make all of life fair.

itsnotaboutme on December 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

But that’s NOT her pic, is it … sigh.

HuffPo is all up in arms about this, criticizing men, white men, Christian men, male judges, the “old boy’s club”. The funny thing is it appears the dentist’s wife was the impetus behind the firing. So, to be fair, let’s talk about busy-body cows who poke their nose into their husband’s business.

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Where’s Tina Korbe these days?

DarkCurrent on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Rick Santorum is asking the same question.

Mark1971 on December 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

You sir are free to go. That cruel woman with her “irresistible attraction” was clearly asking for it.

lester on December 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

The dentist has the right to hire or fire anyone for any reason. It is the overstepping of the government and the courts that ever declared that they have a say in who a private business can hire and why they can be fired. That overstepping has been an affront and has done serious damage to the nation. It is not the government’s job to tell private owners about their hiring and firing practices. That’s what we have contracts for. It is the government’s job to enforce the sanctity of those contracts and that’s pretty much it.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Yes, his mistake was citing the reason. Either way though, it doesn’t matter. The Constitutionally protected “freedom of association” dictates that either party should be able to terminate an employment agreement at any time.

The worker already has that right, he or she can walk out at any time without notice. For some reason in this country some of us seem to believe the employer has some special obligation beyond that. That is wrong. Unions should be abolished for this very reason. It is restraint of trade and violates freedom of association. Why should anyone be forced by law to “deal” with someone else if they no longer wish to do that?

echosyst on December 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Where’s Tina Korbe these days?

DarkCurrent on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

The First Mate and AP’s cat put their foot/paw down?

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Where’s Tina Korbe these days?

DarkCurrent on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Tina is Policy Impact Director for ocpathink.org and on twitter.

Don’t get any idea.

I got that on the web as I thinks she can’t stand me.

IlikedAUH2O on December 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I think the problem is the sense that employees are entitled to keep their jobs no matter what. His reason was stupid, but irrelevant. It’s his business. Personally, I think it sounds like his marriage has bigger issues than the attractiveness of an employee. I really hate this idea of wrongful termination. We have too many instances of wrongful employment when companies are too cowardly to dump bad employees for fear of lawsuits, rather than what is good for their business and their customers. He could have offered her a severance, lovely referral, and helped her quietly find new employment. Imagine how the ugly employees still working there feel?

redmama on December 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I am in total agreement with the court on this one. The owner of a private business should be able to hire or fire for any reason he wishes. I object to even the “protected classes” that are already on the books. If it’s my business, I get to choose my employees. Period. The government should get no say.

Shump on December 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I agree that it’s the owner’s call who he employs. In this case he’s also a freaking moron for disclosing that he’s either a henpecked spineless twit or someone incapable of controlling his bodily urges. In either case, if I were his patient I’d no longer be his patient. Again, not because he didn’t have the right to fire someone but because he lacks some or all of 1) a brain 2) a spine 3) a modicum of self-control.

SoRight on December 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

This is from a local TV station website:

At trial, Knight testified he had complained to Nelson on several occasions that her clothing was too tight, revealing and “distracting.”

But sometime in 2009, he also began exchanging text messages with Nelson. Most of these were work-related and harmless, according to testimony. But others were more suggestive, including one in which Knight asked Nelson how often she had an orgasm. She never answered the text.

Even without all this, one should not have to legally justify firing anybody in a free market.

itsnotaboutme on December 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

If this is the case, why is it that businesses can’t fire a rop type gal with her full outfit on that could cause harm to her or others working at his business? If they do fire said gal, she goes to court, sues, and 9 times out of 10 SHE wins?

It is his/her business and they should say who gets hired or fired, IMO!
L

letget on December 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM

It is a basic tenet of conservatism that the government should do as little as humanly possible, while still protecting people’s rights to life, liberty and property. For the government to have sided with the woman in this case would have been a violation of that principle.

The woman has no right to her employer’s money if she doesn’t have a contract. By the same token, if people believe this to be unfair, the dentist’s right to his customers’ money follows the same guidelines. There is no reason for the government to be involved whatsoever.

FlareCorran on December 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

After a remark like that, Dr. “Hardt Johnson” would have to fire me for accidentally spilling a fresh pot of coffee on his problem area.

;)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

It is the boss’ problem but he should employ whomever he likes.

If it is a he.

I dated a “10″ and she had problems (mostly with guys but also with their significant others) but told me that women and guys with rare exceptions can make themselves look good or not so good.

She loved to dress and look fabulous, so it took denial to go frumpy.

IlikedAUH2O on December 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

The worker already has that right, he or she can walk out at any time without notice.

echosyst on December 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I don’t know employment law at all, but … what if employees were held to the same kind of standard as employers? If some employee left because her boss had bad breath, could the employer sue the employee for wrongful resignation, because her boss has an acid reflux problem such that his bad breath is out of his control, a medical issue covered under the ADA? How about being in a union where you had to go through a long, complicated legal process to quit your job. This mental exercise of turning the tables on employment law boggles the mind.

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

he’s either a henpecked spineless twit or someone incapable of controlling his bodily urges.

SoRight on December 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

So your wife would have no problem with you constantly working around, say, flirty bikini models? My wife is smart & wise enough to have a problem with that.

We don’t know enough of his situation to justify the condemnation you made.

itsnotaboutme on December 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

A second look at Burkas?

Ben Hur on December 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

What’s up with Jazz? He’s writing different. His gun control pieces were really good. So is this. It seems a departure from his past style. It’s not a complaint, but a compliment.

Anyone else notice this?

Roll on Jazz. You might not be the pipe smoking NY’er I thought you were.

But hot can be successful, too. Talk to Katie. Last time I met her she was a college kid. Now she’s on Fox news.

Good writing, Jazz.

wolly4321 on December 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

In Iowa you can be fired for being too pretty

…trying to get full 100% employment for Democrats?

KOOLAID2 on December 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Can’t go to jail, can’t keep a job, what’s left for these women?

Call BobMbx at 1-800-555-1212. I can help.

BobMbx on December 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I understand that her employment was “at will” but it seems a tad nit splitting to say she was fired not because she was a woman but because she was “too attractive.”

You have to wonder – did she get more attractive over the 10 years of her employment or did his wife become less attractive? IMO his wife is a fool if she thinks guilting him into firing an otherwise good employment will ensure his fidelity. I;m sure there are other attactive women in Ft Dodge.

katiejane on December 22, 2012 at 2:55 PM

I was thinking of writing to

TIME

magazine to make her “Person of the Year”.

She might sell issues.

After giving to Obama in 2008, I thought it related to making people lose control and get leg chills.

I didn’t know that President Obama already has it again!

And 63% of the Huffpo readers agree.

Something about making a “more perfect union”. I wonder if they mean SEIU?

I know people with nontyping typing jobs, if this poor thing is near DC or New York.

IlikedAUH2O on December 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM

In Iowa you can be fired for being too pretty

…trying to get full 100% employment for Democrats?

KOOLAID2 on December 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

lmao~~

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I don’t know what is unfair about it. No one has the right to keep their job perpetually. He gave her a month’s severance. She probably also was able to receive unemployment payments, payments mid you, which are not compensating you for any work you do and is also free money. Both of those compensate her beyond the the pay she receives for work done right up to the time she completes her last minute of work, and for which there is no obligation beyond that.

She can get another job somewhere else.

Dusty on December 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM

From the article:

“He [the employer] also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, ‘that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.’”

So, the fired employee gets to sue and to embarrass her husband at the same time.

Ira on December 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM

In Iowa you can be fired for being too pretty
posted at 2:31 pm on December 22, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

One of the wilder stories from the judicial branch to cross our desk in some time popped up this weekend.

Is it me, or are there more double entendres … “popping up” in the HotGas op-ed pieces?

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Just wondering – does this mean an employer can fire people who are ugly, fat, short, bald, acne scarred because they could be distracting also??

katiejane on December 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Why did he hire her in the first place?

darwin on December 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

itsnotaboutme on December 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Where does it say the employee was a bikini model or acted as one? Yes, it was his (and his wife’s) right to fire her. It also demonstrated a serious lack of character. Can he be trusted with an attractive patient then? If he were my dentist, I’d have dropped him and found one who is an adult.

shaloma on December 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM

There is NO RIGHT to a job. Period. You work at the will of the person paying you. Is this now such a wild-eyed right wing position?

Wine_N_Dine on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

.
I agree, totally. But will the ACLU?

The idea that employees don’t have a right to a job, and that they work at the will of the employer, has been considered a “right-wing extremist” position since I can remember.

It’s one of the biggest problems with American manufacturing and production. But don’t tell that to any Union members in Michigan, or you’ll end up like Steven Crowder.

Ironically, the 1970s “women’s liberation movement” was all about forcing the mainstream of society to accept unnactractive women.

listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Sure but it’s not as bad as a ditch.

Go find a ditch to die in.
lostmotherland on December 21, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Even a pretty ditch.

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The owner of a private business should be able to hire or fire for any reason he wishes. I object to even the “protected classes” that are already on the books. If it’s my business, I get to choose my employees. Period. The government should get no say.

Shump on December 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Agreed x’s 1000.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Just wondering – does this mean an employer can fire people who are ugly, fat, short, bald, acne scarred because they could be distracting also??

katiejane on December 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

.
According to a story linked on Drudge Report, a federal employee in Baltimore received a FORMAL reprimand for excessive, malodorous flatulance.

listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 3:07 PM

But that’s NOT her pic, is it … sigh.

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Ah. It’s Christina Hendricks, the large-breasted secretary from Mad Men.

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Jazz Shaw, the resident HotAir RINO, strikes again. After a briefly decent set of pieces on gun control, he returns to form.

“At will” employment means just that – at will. You can be terminated at any time. No reason required. It is one of the great doctrines of the American system, and is present in most every state. California being an exception, naturally.

The bottom line, is in “at will” – I can let you go at anytime. Jazz’s article is just incomprehensibly stupid in that regard. Why am I required, as an owner, to continue to employ someone? I am not. And if I want to replace someone, I am entitled to do so. Open the door to non-”at will”, and an immense drag and cost on the economy is imposed, to the benefit of lawyers and those imagining their victimhood upon a courtroom stage. But Jazz is probably for that.

“At will” employment is one of the reasons America has had such a dynamic economy compared to the rest of the world. Compare that to France, where when you hire someone, you adopt them for life. Because it is almost impossible to get rid of them for any reason in less than a year – soon to be forever, if Hollande has his way.

You cannont discrimnate on the basis of EEOC terms – age, race, gender. FLMA protects pregnancy and others. And the ADA is also encroaching and expanding beyond its original protections for the disabled. I am nominally for those – while noting that they are metastasizing from normal regulatory bodies to cancerous slot machines of social injustice, levers to be pulled by some hoping for a big jackpot. Not to say that injustice doesn’t happen – but also noting that plenty of injustice happens under their rule.

While innocuous on the surface, they increasing represent dangerous impingement on a free and healthy market for employees – and by “protecting” the employment for folks in their respective categories, they also hurt everyone as employees of all stripes pay for unproductive employees or fail to get hired because they are in a protected class.

In decades of business experience, I have seen far more abuse of the regulatory bodies than I have seen abuse of employees over the areas they nominally regulate. It never gets covered, but the employees who join a company and refuse to work starting day 1, and claim protection under these statutes, forcing firms many weeks of salary paid while the employee doesn’t work, large fees to lawyers to make sure every i is dotted and t is crossed, until the airtight case for termination can be made.

And the end result? Wasted money, smaller bonuses for everyone, and a lasting suspicion on the part of management about the next hire.

Yes, Jazz, “at will” is doctrine and makes good economic sens – unlike your article.

PrincetonAl on December 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

How did I mess that up ….

Christina Hendricks
http://www.nndb.com/people/056/000207432/christina-hendricks.jpg

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 3:09 PM

By the way, how does this garbage gets posted? Isn’t there an editor for the site that at least glances at these things?

This wouldn’t make an undergraduate college conservative newspaper – how does it make it here?

Calling MKH – what’s going on?

PrincetonAl on December 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Congress should pass a law that individuals with mental illness should not have access to guns. Based on the recent election, that would be about 51 percent of the country.

Schadenfreude on December 22, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The trolls have been really
exposing their violent side
of late. Seen many a post.
libs really like death and human suffering.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Legally, a correct decision. However, the man’s decision to dismiss the woman is a pathetic commentary on the toxic feminization of the American workplace. A hot babe is fired because the boss’s harridan wife feels threatened? And a so-called “Christian” pastor signs off on it? Jeez. The dentist was described as “religious” and “moral”. Are those now code words for pathetic beta-male mangina? Just pathetic.

Travis Bickle on December 22, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I would think that one ad announcing the young beauties new employer would be all it takes to destroy her old employers practice.

meci on December 22, 2012 at 3:13 PM

By the way, how does this garbage gets posted? Isn’t there an editor for the site that at least glances at these things?

+1

redmama on December 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

The dentist is a douche, and if his wife thinks this is going to stop his ogling of women, she’s crazy. Some wives use sex as a weapon, while some husbands are just plain old creeps.

Liberal feminists are freaking, I’m sure. I tried finding the political affiliations of the sitting IA Justices, but most are undeclared far as their official histories are concerned. One–Wiggins–is a Democrat who also sat on the decision to allow SSM in Iowa. In that case and in this one, both decisions were unanimous.

While I think the dentist and his wife are a couple of messed up jerks for getting rid of a good employee of ten years, he has every right to decide who he hires and retains, his reasons up to him alone as a business owner.

Liam on December 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM

There is NO RIGHT to a job. Period. You work at the will of the person paying you. Is this now such a wild-eyed right wing position?

Wine_N_Dine on December 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Yes, it is a wild eyed RW position.Talk to most under 40 and they believe we should strive for a just and fair society, even at the expense of our private property/independence. Of course , they are too dumbed down to know about the misery that utopianism has created in the world. Communism is a word that old kooks from the 70s and 80s throw around. The newer generations have no clue, and the current batch of popular RWngers don’t have the charisma or the chops to convince them.

BoxHead1 on December 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM

The legal question isn’t “Is this fair?” or “How can we make this situation better?” or “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”

The legal question is “What are the employer’s rights?”

An employee can quit for any reason. An employer also has the right to terminate the relationship for any reason.

Something to keep in mind: to the extent you give the employer less rights than the employee in the relationship, you increase the cost of hiring to the employer, and thereby discourage hiring. This is something people on the left never get.

TallDave on December 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM

The idea that employees don’t have a right to a job, and that they work at the will of the employer, has been considered a “right-wing extremist” position since I can remember.

[listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM]

I suppose I am being picky here, but I’d want to clarify something, not totally related to your point. People have a right to a job, in the sense that you can’t be prohibited from looking for one and get hired somewhere. The right you don’t have is to get the job that you want and where you want it, and particularly not for life.

I also don’t think that the employee gets to decide what’s an acceptable reason for not being able to show up at work the next day. At the end of the day you’ve been paid for what you’ve done and that payment will be made to you.

Dusty on December 22, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Oh,and I support the right of the employer even though I would be the first to get fired under those circumstances. I’m cursed with an off-the-charts attractiveness.

BoxHead1 on December 22, 2012 at 3:19 PM

The idea that employees don’t have a right to a job, and that they work at the will of the employer, has been considered a “right-wing extremist” position since I can remember.

listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I think very often many our quick to post as you did BUT often nobody asks what was in the employee handbook or their contract. It often is not as simple or clear cut as it seems.

CW on December 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

It’s called property rights. He can fire her because he thinks the angle of Jupiter in relation to the moon phase is a sign that she needs to go. She can likewise quit at any moment.

Think in terms of principle. The details don’t matter.

ebrawer on December 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I figured it was talking about that shallow grave thingy they seem partial to. Never seen such a cranky desperate group of winners. I mean, they pinned all their hopes to 0 winning the election. He won. They are sure it will benefit them. It won’t maybe that’s the reason for the sour attitude. ; )

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I’d prefer Melissa to the women who clean my teeth.

bw222 on December 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM

He won. They are sure it will benefit them. It won’t maybe that’s the reason for the sour attitude. ; )

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Liberals tend to be more sore sometimes at winning than they are sore losers.

Liam on December 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM

itsnotaboutme on December 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Most doctors office managers are:
1) Their wife
2) A man
3) A matronly woman

That is the way it is. Propinquity, is the main explanation

Nathan_OH on December 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM

You would think having a knockout in your office would help make people want to make an appointment and increase your business, when no one ever wants to do to the dentist. :-)

Liam on December 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

It never gets covered, but the employees who join a company and refuse to work starting day 1, and claim protection under these statutes, forcing firms many weeks of salary paid while the employee doesn’t work, large fees to lawyers to make sure every i is dotted and t is crossed, until the airtight case for termination can be made.

Yes, Jazz, “at will” is doctrine and makes good economic sens – unlike your article.

PrincetonAl on December 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

I worked for an HR company for a while.(Not directly involved in HR itself)
What you stated is very true.
The “protected classes” also know this and I would hear
them bring it up, as a tool to get a way with whatever they wanted. Some were in 2-3 protective classes. They knew the power they had.
An employee could be a nightmare but the companies were scared to death of a lawsuit and would have to build a perfect case to terminate. I saw enough of the HR laws to make me heave. Govt interference in business at it’s best.

The dentist may be a perv and a dumb ass but “at will” and his business. I’m sure her hot ass will quickly find another job.
Next up was her prob suing for alleged sexual harassment.

He [the employer] also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, ‘that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.’”

“he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing”

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Just wondering – does this mean an employer can fire people who are ugly, fat, short, bald, acne scarred because they could be distracting also??

katiejane on December 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

,

Yes, of course. You don’t think hooters should be able to fire a waitress if she has gained an excessive amount of weight or a salon should be able to fire estheticians who themselves have bad skin?

If the women was distracting the dentist, he is jerk.. But he is also a business owner that must have a productive business.

melle1228 on December 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

If no one had told me otherwise, I would have sworn this was a parody news story from The Onion!

pilamaye on December 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Why does he have to give a reason to fire her at all?

pat on December 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Why does he have to give a reason to fire her at all?

pat on December 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Common courtesy. But this all would have been avoided if he said he can’t afford her any more–that ‘affording’ being more a personal matter than a business one. He didn’t have to tell that, of course. But he did.

Liam on December 22, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Years back I worked with a woman just a few years older than me who at the time I thought was VERY pretty. We sat next to each other and it was often difficult to keep my mind on my work.

That said, there were two problems wherein our boss could/should have fired her. First, she dressed provocatively. Not downright trampish or even too revealing, but enough that she intentionally dressed to accentuate her beauty to the point that it was the point. There were a number of other women who worked at the place, many of whom could be said to have been pretty, even attractive, but all of them managed to figure out how to dress appropriately, neither mousey or sullenly nor seductively or immodestly. For my co-worker however, either she never figured it out or intentionally ignored the general dress code and demeanor of the owners, management and overall clientele. One could say that she was intentionally ignoring the dress requirements as our boss told her numerous times to tone down her style of dress. Secondly, she just wasn’t that great at her job. She relied on her looks from what I could tell.

She eventually moved on and my boss found another warm body to fill the position.

Regardless of all of that, I find it quite absurd that someone can be fired for their looks and one would hope that this case will eventually be overturned. That said however, at the same time, any private business should be allowed to hire and fire at will for any reason – but one would think that they’d have enough sense and tact to not pick such a reason as “looks”.

On a tangential note, years ago I knew another young woman who was either oblivious or doggedly stubborn. I didn’t find her attractive, but she was certainly very pretty. The problem was her style of dress. Here we were, all a group of Christians – and vocally so – and she out of the whole group dressed the most provocatively, if not almost immodestly. Her female friends constantly tried to explain the issue to her to no avail. She was also a bit of an air-head… and if I recall, of Brazilian or Portuguese descent (she could speak Portuguese), so perhaps that played a roll. Perhaps indeed cultural upbringing may have been a factor as I had briefly dated a Spanish woman who tended to dress so that her chest looked like it was about to spill out of what little blouses she wore. She was also a ding-bat with the classic Latin temper. Her beauty wasn’t worth the trouble of the lack of brains.

Logus on December 22, 2012 at 3:37 PM

By the way, how does this garbage gets posted? Isn’t there an editor for the site that at least glances at these things?

PrincetonAl on December 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

You read the posts?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM

It’s not about them winning.
They truly hate us..existing.
I think they frolic in glee and agree
over Harry Belefontes comments.
Lock us up. H/T rwm.
Look at what they said and did to Palin..
Dude just arrested for his message to Jindal,
calls to shoot
NRA members..
We are their enemy and blocking their utopia.
Read some of their blogs..should scare anyone.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:41 PM

If we can fire someone for being too beautiful — aka too male or too female — then we can also fire someone for being too ugly, too white, too black, too rich, too po

True libertarianism. We can fire them for any reason at all. Until the laws come. Then we can’t.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I think very often many our quick to post as you did BUT often nobody asks what was in the employee handbook or their contract. It often is not as simple or clear cut as it seems.

CW on December 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Think in terms of principle. The details don’t matter.

ebrawer on December 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Again.

CW on December 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:41 PM

You’re totally right. What I’ll remember of Sandy Hook is not only the horror of it, but how liberal ghouls were out to play “Gotcha!” thirty minutes after the story broke. We here weren’t allowed to grieve and try to make sense of it all before the usual trolls attacked us with their liberal politics.

Liam on December 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM

True libertarianism. We can fire them for any reason at all. Until the laws come. Then we can’t.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM

The Constitution places limits on those laws (though it’s been ignored, of course). Takings cannot just be passed by law because Congress or some state legislature thinks so. Private property rights can’t just be shat upon on a legislative whim.

This isn’t about libertarianism but about Constitutionalism and the sanctity of contracts.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 3:49 PM

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:41 PM

I suppose you are right b. many of them do seem to be acquiring a fetish for red hot lead. Hope it serves them well. : )

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I think very often many our quick to post as you did BUT often nobody asks what was in the employee handbook or their contract. It often is not as simple or clear cut as it seems.

CW on December 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Many small businesses don’t even have a handbook-nor follow HR law or provide a contract. The HR Co I worked for went after those businesses to provide HR consultation and the consequences of non-compliance with out it.

Most doctors office managers are:
1) Their wife
2) A man
3) A matronly woman

That is the way it is. Propinquity, is the main explanation

Nathan_OH on December 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM

True, 3 out 4 of my doctors have their spouse as office manager.
A couple of my clients are doctor’s..usually the same in their practices. Common.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM

He [the employer] also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, ‘that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.’”

“he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing”

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

If, as you claim, you worked for an HR company — what would you do if an employee came to you and complained that her boss was enquiring into her sex life and making lewd comments about her clothing?

Her work was above reproach — and the only “protected class” she claimed to be in was the “pretty female” one. If her boss has any interaction with the Federal Government — because, for example, he takes medicare or medicaid customers — the Iowa court is not the court of last resort for this woman — as you the HR person well knows.

Is the problem hers — or the boss’s?

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 3:55 PM

In Iowa you can be fired for being too pretty

Things I will never have to worry about ever again.

JPeterman on December 22, 2012 at 3:56 PM

the fired woman had no intention of having a relationship with the boss. like i said in headlines, it sounds like the boss’ wife is just insecure and jealous.

if the decision in this case is perfectly okay and fair then no fired worker should ever sue their former boss for firing them, ever. i mean why shouldn’t i think that? if this isn’t an unfair reason to fire someone, then what is?

and does anyone else think anything of the fact that the court who decided this was all made up of men? if there had been women in the court, would they have voted differently? there wasn’t one woman there, so we don’t know the answer. i’m just wondering.

Why does he have to give a reason to fire her at all?

pat on December 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

so if you were working at a job for a long time, and you workd hard every day, and you and the boss were getting along, and the company was doing well financially… and then one day you get fired for no reason, you would be totally fine with it? you wouldn’t wonder what happened?

Yes, of course. You don’t think hooters should be able to fire a waitress if she has gained an excessive amount of weight or a salon should be able to fire estheticians who themselves have bad skin?

melle1228 on December 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

those two examples are different. this is a dentist’s office. if the woman had bad-looking teeth then it makes sense to fire her from a dentist’s office. but for other physical features? no, it doesn’t make sense.

If no one had told me otherwise, I would have sworn this was a parody news story from The Onion!

pilamaye on December 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

yeah this story is so stupid, you’d think it was fake. the fact that this is an actual story about real people is just sad…

Sachiko on December 22, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I’ll tell you something that happened to me-
one day on qotd regarding that topic. By a loving liberal.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Yes, of course. You don’t think hooters should be able to fire a waitress if she has gained an excessive amount of weight or a salon should be able to fire estheticians who themselves have bad skin?

melle1228 on December 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM
those two examples are different. this is a dentist’s office. if the woman had bad-looking teeth then it makes sense to fire her from a dentist’s office. but for other physical features? no, it doesn’t make sense.

In the legal world they are the SAME- -Someone got fired because of their appearance. If you restrict one by using civil rights; you restrict the other. An employer should be able to fire an employee for ANY reason. The employer was an idiot, but it is his business and he can be an idiot.

melle1228 on December 22, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Judge: “Mr. Employer, why did you fire Mr. I.M. Black?”

Mr. Employer: “Because my wife says I had too…she’s afraid of black men, otherwise she would divorce me, so I did it to save my marriage”

Judge: “Good enough”.

BobMbx on December 22, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Will the judges rule the same way when a woman petitions that she was not hired as a secretary because she was not ttractive? It would seem this court left open a return to the days of Madmen secretaries in Iowa.

xkaydet65 on December 22, 2012 at 4:05 PM

It would seem this court left open a return to the days of Madmen secretaries in Iowa.

xkaydet65 on December 22, 2012 at 4:05 PM

And what is wrong with that? Have you seen the secretaries on that show?

BobMbx on December 22, 2012 at 4:10 PM

BobMbx on December 22, 2012 at 4:04 PM

LOL. Black-owned companies go way out of their way to hire blacks and fire whites – which is their right. But the same works for everybody.

It’s funny how we get a list of black nominees for high government positions (such as SecState) one after the other when blacks are less than 12% of the population and seriously underperform in those areas – so much so that the odds of finding two black nominees in a row is about 100000:1. But we get scores of them and the same idiots who like to bring up silly statistics for cases such as the New Haven Firefighters (where it was a matter of passing a standardized test, even!) refuse to do any analysis of the statistical probability that you would find a black person to run NASA (looking at the percentage of blacks in the sciences performing at the highest leve, or even the third highest level).

Enough of this BS, already.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

I’ll tell you something that happened to me-
one day on qotd regarding that topic. By a loving liberal.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Okay.

Bmore on December 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 3:55 PM

If, as I claimed?? I don’t lie sir.
As I said above, I worked for an HR company
but not in HR.(again stated above) As a consultant in another area.
I recounted my observations and what I was exposed to.
I picked up a lot by being around it for a couple years.
I knew nothing of HR law before that.
I am not a certified HR professional, so no one came to me to investigate those cases or advise. My field is benefits.
The company I worked for had HR consultants that worked with outside companies
to provide those services. I was a benefit adviser and trainer.
Just gave my 2 cents on what I saw back then.

bazil9 on December 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Civil-Rights Suit – the wife was creating a hostile work environment.

Another Drew on December 22, 2012 at 4:18 PM

In Iowa you can be fired for being too pretty

Been to Iowa plenty. Trust me, this is not a problem 99% of Iowegians.

The 1% are the visitors from Minnesota.

Bruno Strozek on December 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

This isn’t about libertarianism but about Constitutionalism and the sanctity of contracts.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Heart of Atlanta Motel vs. United States

All sorts of things NOT IN THE CONTRACT apply, and if something is in the contract, it can still be disputed in court.

Anyone arguing that someone can be fired for their looks, be they good, bad, or ugly, isn’t going to get far with me — even if the contract says they must be good, bad, or ugly looking — especially if looks are not a job requirement.

Where I work, we have plenty of people who aren’t the best looking people in the world — sort of like the dentist — or his wife — and then we have some really smashing looking people. The job requirement is that you be able to design, write, test, or document software which meets certain reliability requirements and which has certain features specified by contract.

If you can do the job, you get to keep the job. If you can’t, you don’t. Oh, and if we had the kind of boss that dentist appeared to be, he’d be out of the shop on workplace harassment charges long before any pretty young thing ever got to walk merely for either denying the boss’ advances or for being fired because she made the boss’ wife uncomfortable.

But I guess things in Iowa are different — or, rather, things are different when you aren’t building things for the Government.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

The dentist has the right to hire or fire anyone for any reason. It is the overstepping of the government and the courts that ever declared that they have a say in who a private business can hire and why they can be fired. That overstepping has been an affront and has done serious damage to the nation.
(…)
ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Right on. I commented on the other thread:

This story is not a victory for anyone’s freedom, because the whole case operates under the false premise that every person has a ‘right’ to a job.

We’ve accepted the premise that business owners are akin to slaves; we require them to provide jobs to everyone. I have news for the leftists: business owners can and do ‘call it quits’ all the time. U6 unemployment is over 14%, folks. Do they think these policies making firing people difficult will help with unemployment?

This whole discussion of having a ‘right’ to a job is madness. The employer created the business by sweat and tears. (start up business owners don’t get to quit working after 5 pm) Soon, the only job we will all have a ‘right’ to will be either digging or filling in dirt holes. (or maybe breaking and repairing windows… Thanks Keynes…)

Nephew Sam on December 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Where I work, we have plenty of people who aren’t the best looking people in the world — sort of like the dentist — or his wife — and then we have some really smashing looking people. The job requirement is that you be able to design, write, test, or document software which meets certain reliability requirements and which has certain features specified by contract.

If you can do the job, you get to keep the job. If you can’t, you don’t.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Who are you who gets to decide what the requirements are for a private owner’s jobs? Companies do credit checks on prospective employees. Where is credit any “job requirement”? It is fine because the owners want a certain type of person in the job, and that determination is their right. It isn’t your right to tell the owner of a company that they must hire you or can’t fire you because you (or some court) has determined that you are able to do the job.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

what creeps me out the most about this story is that it reminds me of those extremist muslim countries where men aren’t held responsible for their sexual thoughts and actions toward women. responsibility is placed on the woman, even if she is doing nothing to try to attract a man. she’s still punished, and the man is not, even if the man is the only person who is actually doing something bad. i’m sure you’re very familiar with how it works in those countries. i’m sure you’re familiar with the way that women in those countries are unfairly punished for the sexual actions of men.

it’s less extreme in iowa, but the mindset is the same.

the fact that many of you actually defend this is scary to me.

Sachiko on December 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Enough of this BS, already.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Before you go too far with this, my division boss is black — and is a retired Air Force Maj Gen. The man knows his stuff, and proof positive that anyone who uses statistics to try to prove something about an individual has a bit to learn about statistics.

That said, I’ll give you the current President, and even give you Susan Rice. They’ve shown their personal incompetence several times over.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Sachiko on December 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Agreed. Wasn’t the defense of the rape (and life-threatening assault) on the bus in Delhi that the woman had it coming for merely going on a date with a man?

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 4:39 PM

I don’t see a conflict between ‘at will’ firing and her being awarded compensation if the firing is arbitrary enough. She may not have a claim on the job but she surely has a claim on her own reputation as a worker… and getting fired for no good reason injures that. Imagine her next job interview:

“You got fired for being too pretty? C’mon, how’d you really screw up?” or “Sorry, we don’t tolerate sex in the office.”

PersonFromPorlock on December 22, 2012 at 4:41 PM

and proof positive that anyone who uses statistics to try to prove something about an individual has a bit to learn about statistics.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM

I taught statistics. They are about aggregate qualities, not individual ones, but statistics are certainly valid for analyzing large numbers of actions, together. And the abuse of statistics occurs most in the cases that have been brought to court over protected classes (and, unfortunately won in most cases, which was intellectually offensive). My point was that in cases where the statistics are actually responsible and correct they are not even cited. Only when they can be abused are such statistics brought up.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Happened to me.

davidk on December 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Who are you who gets to decide what the requirements are for a private owner’s jobs? Companies do credit checks on prospective employees. Where is credit any “job requirement”? It is fine because the owners want a certain type of person in the job, and that determination is their right. It isn’t your right to tell the owner of a company that they must hire you or can’t fire you because you (or some court) has determined that you are able to do the job.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I am a voter, and I vote for those kinds of laws. I see no difference here between a black being fired for being black or a white being fired for being white, or an airline stewardess being fired because she’s no longer pretty, or even a Hooters waitress being fired because she’s old.

We’ve moved past that stuff — it’s settled law. It’s people like you who contributed to the rise of the unions and made them the powerful things they are today. When you defend the indefensible, you open yourself to being over-ruled by your peers at the ballot box.

You may win contractually, but I’m betting Iowa has a new law by the end of next year just for the likes of you.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 4:46 PM

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