Iowa Supreme Court Reconsidering “Too Hot” Dental Assistant’s Case
12:30 pm, July 1st | by Grace Rasmus
Just let that flawless logic sink in for a second… Ready? Okay.
Nelson filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against her ex-employer, claiming that she had been wrongly terminated from her job. The all-male Iowa Supreme Court sided with Nelson’s boss, ruling that an employer has a right to fire an employee whom he considers an “irresistible attraction.” So while it’s illegal to fire someone based on their age, race, or gender, irresistible sexiness is apparently fair game. Cool.
According to ABC News, Nelson had considered her boss of ten years, Dr. James Knight, a “father-figure” up until about a month before her termination when he started sending her “more personal” text messages, to which she says she never replied.
Thankfully (and surprisingly) the Iowa Supreme Court announced that it would reconsider Nelson’s case, withdrawing the unanimous opinion it issued last year. No new evidence will be considered, but the court will look over the prior evidence.
“The only thing that’s changed here is the public’s reaction to the decision, which was mostly negative,” said Ryan Koopmans, an Iowa attorney not affiliated with the case. “There really is no reason to grant rehearing six months after the decision was made unless someone is seriously considering changing their mind. I think we’ll definitely see at least one opinion in favor of Melissa, the question is whether it is the majority opinion or dissenting opinion.”
Knight’s attorney Stu Cochrane says the decision to terminate Nelson was legal, adding in a statement that the court will reaffirm its decision because “the law has not changed.”
Nelson hopes that even if the law hasn’t changed, the judges’ interpretation has.
“I can tell you she was surprised and delighted by the news that the Iowa Supreme Court has withdrawn its earlier ruling,” said Nelson’s attorney, Paige Fiedler. “Not only does this breathe new life into her court case, it eliminates what many of us believed was a harmful legal and misguided precedent.”
Reconsidering a case is very rare; according to a spokesman for the Iowa Supreme court, only five cases have been reconsidered in the last ten years.