Author Topic: Dentist Who Fired Attractive Assistant to Prevent Adultery Did Not Discriminate  (Read 2872 times)

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Offline Jetavan

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The Iowa State Supreme Court ruled last week that a male dentist who fired his attractive female assistant did not discriminate against her or violate the state's civil rights law.

James Knight, a dentist in Fort Dodge, Iowa, fired dental assistant Melissa Nelson after he and his wife became worried that, in response to Nelson's attractiveness, Knight was "getting too personally attached to her" and "feared he would try to have an affair with her down the road." Nelson filed suit, alleging that Knight had discriminated against her on the basis of her gender and arguing that her situation arose only because of her gender.

However, the all-male state Supreme Court voted 7-0 in Knight's favor, finding that Knight did not violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which ensures equal treatment for employees regardless of their gender.
Uh, not to sure about this one. ::)
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Offline Arachne

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Oh, for a decent workers' union, to rip the good doctor a new one... ::)
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.



Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Offline LBK

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline Arachne

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 10:18:13 AM by Arachne »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Not that I agree with what happened, but technically I think the decision by the court was correct in that it wasn't discrimination based on gender. The court can't find for the woman just because she was wronged, she had to be wronged for a certain reason or in a certain way. The court of public opinion will also have it's day in judgment, however, and we shall see...
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 10:27:21 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.

Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?



Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Offline Arachne

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Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?

I don't know how you view work relationships over there, but here employers are bound by an antiquated notion called 'duty of care' towards their employees. Which means you work things out with them, rather than kick them to the curb. (One month's pay as severance? Ridiculous.)

If the shoe was on the other foot, and a female boss fired a male employee for the same reason, she would be branded a slut for the rest of her life.
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Offline LBK

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I'm with Arachne on this one. I can think of no other occupation where a (usually) young woman works at such close proximity to a (usually) older man. Perhaps theater nurses and surgeons would be comparable. Yet this proximity is no excuse whatsoever for impropriety.

I remember my own (in practice for more than 40 years, and a true gentleman) dentist once telling me: Dentistry is the only profession where a fifty-something man can lock knees with a twenty-something woman, under the head of a total stranger, and not get arrested.  :o :laugh: :laugh:
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Offline vamrat

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.

Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?



Selam

Better to discriminate than be inefficient...

Either way, it's a right to work state.  That's what this is about.  A company can fire someone for any reason or no reason at all.  The dentist is a verifiable dong, but what he did was legal.  He should have just used tact and said that "her services were no longer required."  Then this would be a non-issue.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline vamrat

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Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?

I don't know how you view work relationships over there, but here employers are bound by an antiquated notion called 'duty of care' towards their employees. Which means you work things out with them, rather than kick them to the curb. (One month's pay as severance? Ridiculous.)

If the shoe was on the other foot, and a female boss fired a male employee for the same reason, she would be branded a slut for the rest of her life.

Don't worry, once the feminazi's get a hold of him he's probably off to Auschwitz. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline Iconodule

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.

Discriminating or adulterous?

As if those are the only options. To imply that not firing her would have inevitably resulted in adultery is just plain stupid.

Offline Arachne

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Don't worry, once the feminazi's get a hold of him he's probably off to Auschwitz.

I wonder if his new (female) assistant is a Rosa Klebb lookalike...

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Offline LBK

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To imply that not firing her would have inevitably resulted in adultery is just plain stupid.

Indeed. It would also be proof that this man's brain was not between his ears.
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Offline orthonorm

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.

Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?



Selam

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Offline orthonorm

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.

Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?



Selam

Better to discriminate than be inefficient...

Either way, it's a right to work state.  That's what this is about.  A company can fire someone for any reason or no reason at all.  The dentist is a verifiable dong, but what he did was legal.  He should have just used tact and said that "her services were no longer required."  Then this would be a non-issue.

LOL @ right to work.
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Offline vamrat

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If she was so "dangerously" attractive, then why did the dentist choose to employ her in the first place?

For several years, to boot.

Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.

So depriving your employee of their livelihood because you can't control your hormones is okay? Nice.

Supreme Court, at least, should have manned up and admitted that it was discrimination.

Discriminating or adulterous? Who cares what the world thinks or does?



Selam

Better to discriminate than be inefficient...

Either way, it's a right to work state.  That's what this is about.  A company can fire someone for any reason or no reason at all.  The dentist is a verifiable dong, but what he did was legal.  He should have just used tact and said that "her services were no longer required."  Then this would be a non-issue.

LOL @ right to work.

I'm lolling too, though I assure you it's mirthless.

One positive side, since an employee can also quit for any reason or without reason or notice, it technically makes indentured servitude all the harder...
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline vamrat

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Don't worry, once the feminazi's get a hold of him he's probably off to Auschwitz.

I wonder if his new (female) assistant is a Rosa Klebb lookalike...



No.  Rosie O'Donnell. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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One assumption I see made throughout this thread is that Dr. Knight's assistant was just as attractive at the end of her employment as she was at the beginning and that he therefore should never have hired her in the first place if he thought she was so attractive. The one problem with this assumption, though, is that Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him. If this is true, then this becomes more of a workplace behavior problem in my estimation. If this is true, then the question we should really be asking is if Dr. Knight was right to fire his assistant for dressing in a manner he and his wife deemed increasingly inappropriate for their work environment.
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Offline Tallitot

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maybe heterosexuals shouldn't be employers if they can't leave their sexuality at home. :laugh:
Proverbs 22:7

Offline Jetavan

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Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him.
If she was, why not simply ask her to dress more appropriately?
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
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Offline Schultz

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maybe heterosexuals shouldn't be employers if they can't leave their sexuality at home. :laugh:

One of the saner posts in this thread.
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Offline Schultz

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Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him.
If she was, why not simply ask her to dress more appropriately?

Indeed, if he did not, he doesn't have a pot to pee in under Federal anti-discrimination laws. 

Also, regarding "right to work" states, they still have to comply with Federal anti-discrimination laws. 
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him.
If she was, why not simply ask her to dress more appropriately?
Do we know enough about this case to say that he didn't?
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Offline Arachne

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Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him.
If she was, why not simply ask her to dress more appropriately?
Do we know enough about this case to say that he didn't?

How 'revealing' can a lab coat get? Or don't doctors and nurses bother with professional attire over there?
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him.
If she was, why not simply ask her to dress more appropriately?
Do we know enough about this case to say that he didn't?

How 'revealing' can a lab coat get? Or don't doctors and nurses bother with professional attire over there?
Do you know what dental assistants wear over here? Do you know specifically what Melissa Nelson would wear to work before Dr. Knight fired her?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 11:48:36 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Jetavan

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Dr. Knight's assistant may very easily have started her employment dressing more modestly, only to dress in an increasingly revealing manner as she continued working for him.
If she was, why not simply ask her to dress more appropriately?
Do we know enough about this case to say that he didn't?
He did complain to her about her clothing, and according to the court records, she put on a lab coat whenever he asked her to cover up what he considered to be clothing too revealing:

Quote
Nelson recalls that Dr. Knight said her clothing was too “distracting” and that he “may have” asked her to put on her lab coat. In any event, she testified that she put on a coat whenever Dr. Knight complained to her about her clothing.

Additional information about Dr. Knight's wife:

Quote
In late 2009, Dr. Knight took his children to Colorado for Christmas vacation. Dr. Knight’s wife Jeanne, who was also an employee in the dental practice, stayed home. Jeanne Knight found out that her husband and Nelson were texting each other during that time. When Dr. Knight returned home, Jeanne Knight confronted her husband and demanded that he terminate Nelson’s employment. Both of them consulted with the senior pastor of their church, who agreed with the decision.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 11:52:00 AM by Jetavan »
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Offline Arachne

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Do you know what dental assistants wear over here? Do you know specifically what Melissa Nelson would wear to work before Dr. Knight fired her?

I don't, and that's why I asked. I wasn't being snarky, nor rhetorical. UK society is very uniform-oriented and no medical personnel that I've come in contact with was ever in 'civilian' clothing.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 12:02:23 PM by Arachne »
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Offline vamrat

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Do you know what dental assistants wear over here? Do you know specifically what Melissa Nelson would wear to work before Dr. Knight fired her?

I don't, and that's why I asked. I wasn't being snarky, nor rhetorical. UK society is very uniform-oriented and no medical personnel that I've come in contact with was ever in 'civilian' clothing.

I've seen a dental assistant or two in my time that were solid 7's or 8's, even in scrubs.  There was this one...oh she was dreamy.  I had to stop going to that dentist because her beauty caused my mind to stray.  She'd say, "you really need to start flossing more" but all I'd hear "I want to marry you and have your legitimate children".  I just couldn't take it anymore and had to stop going.

Other minor concerns were that the dentist tried to drill to China when dealing with a cavity.  It really hurt.

Oh, and I haven't had a raise since 2009 so I had to choose between going to the dentist and drinking and made my choice after careful consideration.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Additional information about Dr. Knight's wife:

Quote
In late 2009, Dr. Knight took his children to Colorado for Christmas vacation. Dr. Knight’s wife Jeanne, who was also an employee in the dental practice, stayed home. Jeanne Knight found out that her husband and Nelson were texting each other during that time. When Dr. Knight returned home, Jeanne Knight confronted her husband and demanded that he terminate Nelson’s employment. Both of them consulted with the senior pastor of their church, who agreed with the decision.

The texting shows too great an interest in an employee.  Unless they were texting about work, schedules, etc...  However, since wifey was in a tizzy and hubby agreed that he shouldn't be doing it, one assumes the texts were "inappropriate" - whatever that means.

So, one might deduce that they were already forming something more than a mere work relationship.

Having said that, he may have explained it to her, given her a letter of recommendation and helped her find new employment....in order to save both of them from an indiscretion. 

However, firing, or not hiring, a woman (or man) because the employer "might" get interested in them in the future is ludicrous!  Seriously, can there not be a work relationship between a man and a woman that doesn't go south?  Can't both parties control themselves?

I'm not a "femi-nazi" by any stretch of the imagination....however, this particular judgment....that she was too pretty....just stings...because I get flashes of women having to wear burkas in order not to excite males anywhere within a mile from them. 



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Offline Justin Kissel

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Do you know what dental assistants wear over here? Do you know specifically what Melissa Nelson would wear to work before Dr. Knight fired her?

I don't, and that's why I asked. I wasn't being snarky, nor rhetorical. UK society is very uniform-oriented and no medical personnel that I've come in contact with was ever in 'civilian' clothing.

I've seen a dental assistant or two in my time that were solid 7's or 8's, even in scrubs.  There was this one...oh she was dreamy.  I had to stop going to that dentist because her beauty caused my mind to stray.  She'd say, "you really need to start flossing more" but all I'd hear "I want to marry you and have your legitimate children".  I just couldn't take it anymore and had to stop going.

Other minor concerns were that the dentist tried to drill to China when dealing with a cavity.  It really hurt.

Oh, and I haven't had a raise since 2009 so I had to choose between going to the dentist and drinking and made my choice after careful consideration.

You made the right decision!  8)
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 12:45:23 PM by Asteriktos »

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Additional information about Dr. Knight's wife:

Quote
In late 2009, Dr. Knight took his children to Colorado for Christmas vacation. Dr. Knight’s wife Jeanne, who was also an employee in the dental practice, stayed home. Jeanne Knight found out that her husband and Nelson were texting each other during that time. When Dr. Knight returned home, Jeanne Knight confronted her husband and demanded that he terminate Nelson’s employment. Both of them consulted with the senior pastor of their church, who agreed with the decision.

The texting shows too great an interest in an employee.  Unless they were texting about work, schedules, etc...  However, since wifey was in a tizzy and hubby agreed that he shouldn't be doing it, one assumes the texts were "inappropriate" - whatever that means.

So, one might deduce that they were already forming something more than a mere work relationship.

Having said that, he may have explained it to her, given her a letter of recommendation and helped her find new employment....in order to save both of them from an indiscretion. 

However, firing, or not hiring, a woman (or man) because the employer "might" get interested in them in the future is ludicrous!  Seriously, can there not be a work relationship between a man and a woman that doesn't go south?  Can't both parties control themselves?

I'm not a "femi-nazi" by any stretch of the imagination....however, this particular judgment....that she was too pretty....just stings...because I get flashes of women having to wear burkas in order not to excite males anywhere within a mile from them. 


As often happens, the most sane response of all.  Thank you, Liza! :)
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Offline jah777

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This woman better be prepared to receive a lot of job offers from sleazy old dentists.   :-\

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Additional information about Dr. Knight's wife:

Quote
In late 2009, Dr. Knight took his children to Colorado for Christmas vacation. Dr. Knight’s wife Jeanne, who was also an employee in the dental practice, stayed home. Jeanne Knight found out that her husband and Nelson were texting each other during that time. When Dr. Knight returned home, Jeanne Knight confronted her husband and demanded that he terminate Nelson’s employment. Both of them consulted with the senior pastor of their church, who agreed with the decision.

The texting shows too great an interest in an employee.  Unless they were texting about work, schedules, etc...  However, since wifey was in a tizzy and hubby agreed that he shouldn't be doing it, one assumes the texts were "inappropriate" - whatever that means.

So, one might deduce that they were already forming something more than a mere work relationship.

Having said that, he may have explained it to her, given her a letter of recommendation and helped her find new employment....in order to save both of them from an indiscretion. 

However, firing, or not hiring, a woman (or man) because the employer "might" get interested in them in the future is ludicrous!  Seriously, can there not be a work relationship between a man and a woman that doesn't go south?  Can't both parties control themselves?

I'm not a "femi-nazi" by any stretch of the imagination....however, this particular judgment....that she was too pretty....just stings...because I get flashes of women having to wear burkas in order not to excite males anywhere within a mile from them. 


As often happens, the most sane response of all.  Thank you, Liza! :)

There is no times for sanity in times of madness.  For what is sanity if not the troubled nightmares of a psychopath.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline vamrat

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This woman better be prepared to receive a lot of job offers from sleazy old dentists.   :-\

From the information I have gleaned from both women I have known in the dental profession (their combined experience accounts for 0.000X% of all women employed in this field) all dentists are sleazy. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline choy

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The funniest thing here is that they will say the all-male court ruled in favor of the man, so the solution really is to have females who will rule in favor of the female.  There is discrimination either way.

Offline Jetavan

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The funniest thing here is that they will say the all-male court ruled in favor of the man, so the solution really is to have females who will rule in favor of the female.  There is discrimination either way.
On the other hand, perhaps by having *some* female judges on the court, the male judges will gain a wider perspective on which to base their decision.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Better to be discriminating than to be adulterous.



Selam

Unless you have reason to believe that the dental assistant is such a horrible woman that she would have an affair with her boss, you should have said "Better to be discriminating than to be raping."
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Offline Justin Kissel

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If this woman had been in the kitchen instead of in a dentist office she wouldn't have this problem. See what I'm saying?

Offline vamrat

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The funniest thing here is that they will say the all-male court ruled in favor of the man, so the solution really is to have females who will rule in favor of the female.  There is discrimination either way.
On the other hand, perhaps by having *some* female judges on the court, the male judges will gain a wider perspective on which to base their decision.

Perspective is not important.  The law is to be equally applied regardless of sex. 

The thing is, he was within his rights as an employer.  The problem is not the court, but that the guy was stupid.  He'll probably go out of business as a result.  He should either have A) not listened to his wife, who was the creator of this stupidity, or B) he should have used some tact and exercised his right to not have given her a reason.  As it is, people will probably stop supporting his business and go to another dentist and his developmentally disabled wife will probably divorce him and alimony-rape him since he won't have any g-money.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline choy

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The funniest thing here is that they will say the all-male court ruled in favor of the man, so the solution really is to have females who will rule in favor of the female.  There is discrimination either way.
On the other hand, perhaps by having *some* female judges on the court, the male judges will gain a wider perspective on which to base their decision.

Some or all, the expectation is that the female judge will rule in favor of the woman, not to rule on what is right.

Offline Punch

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Either way, it's a right to work state.  That's what this is about.  A company can fire someone for any reason or no reason at all.  The dentist is a verifiable dong, but what he did was legal.  He should have just used tact and said that "her services were no longer required."  Then this would be a non-issue.

Having been a Union Steward for 18 of my 31 years of full time employment, I can vouch for the above statements.  In a state that has "employment at will" as its labor doctrine, she has no leg to stand on without a bargaining agreement that specifies "just cause" or, in the case of my company "prejudiced, arbitrary or discriminatory".  Federal law has no bearing in this because what he did is simply NOT descrimination as defined by the law.  Had he said that he was firing her because she is a woman, that would be a different matter.  However, he was terminating her because she was pretty and he was attracted to her.  There is no protection under the law for that.  Were she an ugly woman who he had no intrest in, she would still be employed (so this is not sexual descrimination).  Were he gay, this would not be a problem.  In my opinion, somewhat educated in these matters, the court found correctly according to the law. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Punch

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ps on my post above - since my company has a bargaining agreement with a Union, getting her job back would have been one of the easiest cases that I would have won.  I once worked with one of the top attorneys in Omaha, and he told me the first question that he asks when someone calls him about a matter such as above, the first question that he asks is "do you have a Union".  If the answer is "no", he will not bother to waste his time or their money.  She must not have had a very honest attorney since any good labor attorney would have warned her that her chances were minimal.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Arachne

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Perspective is not important.  The law is to be equally applied regardless of sex. 

The thing is, he was within his rights as an employer.  The problem is not the court, but that the guy was stupid.  He'll probably go out of business as a result.  He should either have A) not listened to his wife, who was the creator of this stupidity, or B) he should have used some tact and exercised his right to not have given her a reason.  As it is, people will probably stop supporting his business and go to another dentist and his developmentally disabled wife will probably divorce him and alimony-rape him since he won't have any g-money.

The text exchange bit is interesting. It takes two to exchange anything, texts or bodily fluids. I suspect he wasn't minding the attraction one bit until his wife found out. If he'd minded from the start, he could have fired her earlier, or counter-sued for sexual harassment. But I'm a cynic.
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Offline Nephi

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However, firing, or not hiring, a woman (or man) because the employer "might" get interested in them in the future is ludicrous!  Seriously, can there not be a work relationship between a man and a woman that doesn't go south?  Can't both parties control themselves?
I think this is somewhat relevant on why women and men can't be friends (or successful workmates?) from When Harry Met Sally:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8kpYm-6nuE  :laugh:
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 12:29:02 AM by Nephi »