Health

Dentist James Knight Fired Assistant Melissa Nelson Because She was Attractive, Iowa Supreme Court Backs Him

| by Michael Allen

Dentist James Knight fired his long-time assistant Melissa Nelson because Knight and his wife viewed the married mom as a threat to their marriage.

In response, Nelson filed a lawsuit, but the seven member all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday 7-0 that employers can fire employees whom they see as an "irresistible attraction" if the employer is motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, reports the Daily Mail.

Nelson, now a waitress, told CNN on Friday: "I don't think this is fair. I don't think this is right."

Nelson said she was never interested in Knight romantically: "Absolutely not. I'm happily married. I'm just an ordinary girl. Just an ordinary mom."

Knight claimed that Nelson's clothes were so tight that he couldn't look at her without being aroused, Nelson said she wore standard scrubs worn by nurses and assistants in dental offices.

Nelson's attorney, Paige Fiedler, said: "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."

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Knight, who employed Nelson for ten years, allegedly told her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing.

Knight allegedly observed about Nelson's infrequent sex life: "That's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it."

Knight and Nelson started exchanging text messages, mostly about their families, but Knight's wife (pictured below with Knight), who also worked in the dental office, found out about the text messages and demanded Nelson be fired.

Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month's severance pay. Knight told Nelson's husband that he worried about getting too personally attached.

Nelson, 32, viewed Knight, 53, not as man with normal sexual desires, but as a father figure.

Judge Mansfield, of the Iowa Supreme Court, said that allowing Nelson's lawsuit would stretch the definition of discrimination.