An Iowa woman is furious after losing a court battle against her former employer. An Iowa Supreme Court ruled that it was legal for her ex-boss to fire her because he deemed her to be "too attractive" and a subsequent threat to his marriage.
Melissa Nelson, who worked as a dental assistant for a decade, was abruptly fired from James Knight's Fort Dodge business because he was attracted to the happily married mother of two. Although the pair never engaged in any flirtatious behavior, the all-male court ruled 7-0 that bosses can terminate employees who they deem to be an 'irresistible attraction,' according to CNN.
"The last couple of days have just been an emotional roller coaster. I'm trying to stay strong. It's tough," Nelson told CNN's Don Lemon. "I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right."
Nelson, 32, denied claims that she wore revealing clothing to work and insists that she was always dressed in the standard scrubs uniform and that she acted professionally in her work environment. Knight, 53, who Nelson deemed to be a "father figure," claims that Nelson's "attractive" appearance was distracting. In order to prevent an extramarital affair from occurring, he terminated her.
"The question we must answer is ... whether an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction," Justice Edward M. Mansfield wrote for the all-male high court.
Knight reportedly made inappropriate remarks about Nelson's infrequent sex life, at one point telling her "that's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it."
Both Knight and Nelson had previously exchanged text messages mainly about personal matters. When his wife, who also works in the same office, discovered the messages, she demanded that Knight fire Nelson.
Nelson's attorney, who is unable to appeal the controversial ruling, immediately blasted the court's decision.
"These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don't think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to monitor and control their bosses' sexual desires," Nelson's attorney Paige Fielder said. "If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it."