most esteemed Iowa circle jerk
all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled 7-0 on Friday that a dentist was totally within his legal rights when he fired his female assistant because he and his wife all held hands and decided that the woman was a threat to their marriage. In other words, a female employee in Iowa was fired because her boss found himself leering at her too often, and this incapacity to behave like a decent, professional human somehow, in the hothouse imagination of the Iowa Supreme Court, became her problem.
After getting too many root-canal boners, crafting strange sexual metaphors, and consulting with his pastor, James Knight, a dentist, family man, and God-fearing Christian, fired Melissa Nelson, his assistant of ten years. Though such a firing may be unfair, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote it does not constitute unlawful termination under the Civil Rights Act because Knight didn't fire Nelson because of her gender or anything — he fired her because of his feelings and emotions. See? And you were getting all outraged for nothing!
According to the AP, Nelson's attorney Paige Fiedler (obviously) disagreed with the Court's opinion, saying (in so many words) that the justice sausage-party assembled to render this decision failed to understand the sexual discrimination women routinely face in the workplace. Fiedler told the AP,
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. If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it.
It's like Anna Karenina only with dentists, no sex, and no apparent reciprocity. And Vronsky's old. During the ten years (!) Nelson worked for Knight, she proved herself, in Knight's own opinion, a valuable employee. In the final months of her employment, however, Knight complained that Nelson's tight clothing was driving him to distraction, and indicated as much to Nelson by offering her this helpful yardstick for determining whether or not her office attire was too form-fitting: if his pants were bulging, the Nelson's clothes were far too sexy. Knight also once made drew up a tidy little simile about Nelson's (apparently infrequent) sex life, saying that Nelson's husband never sexing her was "like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it." Knight gave Nelson one month's severance, and later, in the most awkward conversation ever, told Nelson's husband that he was becoming so attracted to Nelson that he worried he would start an affair with her.
This all came as something of a shock to Nelson (32), who says she saw the 53-year-old Knight as a "father figure" and was never interested in starting a relationship with his old, wrinkled penis. She filed a gender discrimination suit and argued that she wouldn't have been fired if she'd been a man (though she did not allege sexual harassment). Knight, meanwhile argued that Nelson wasn't fired because of her gender, no, no — she was fired because she posed a threat to his marriage. You see, the opinion of James Knight's attorney, the dentist is a moral man. I mean, golly, he consulted his pastor and everything, but still, the boners and nocturnal emissions came like bloodthirsty Visigoths besieging Knight's immortal soul. Other than behave like the professional he poses as in his quarter-page ad in the Yellow Pages when he's trying to convince prospective patients to let him drill holes into their teeth, what more could he have done?
Image via gui jun peng/Shutterstock