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Can you fire an employee for being too attractive?


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#21 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4936

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:40 AM

Dental assistants are to be good looking women, that's part of their job (to take away patient's fear). That said, I don't find the woman that's shown when you query for her name "irresistible" from the photograph. She's looking ok, and she has a nice smile, but no more than a million others.

 

Insofar, I think it was either just that guy's wife being a total nutter about a random younger woman (wouldn't be the first time in history), or the real reason is something completely different (wouldn't be the first time in history either)..



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#22 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:31 PM

Well Yahoo has a picture of her and there's an interview with her. I think it's on ABC or even Yahoo.

I wonder how the lawyer thought this was a gender discrimination case. Maybe that was a bit of an overreach.
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#23 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:06 PM

Here's the court's decision. It's actually a really interesting read.

 

http://www.iowacourts.gov/Supreme_Court/Recent_Opinions/20121221/11-1857.pdf



#24 Cornstalks   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6991

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:29 PM

Out of curiosity, what if (in an entirely hypothetical situation) the doctor was gay, his employee was male, and the doctor was involved in a homosexual relationship with another parter, and this partner demanded the employee be fired because of a growing relationship between the doctor and the employee? Would it still be argued as "sex discrimination?" If the answer here is no, then I'd suggest it ought to be "no" in this case as well.

 

I don't think I'd call this "sex discrimination" as the plaintiff does, especially because he hired another woman in place of her...


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#25 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:05 AM

Out of curiosity, what if (in an entirely hypothetical situation) the doctor was gay, his employee was male, and the doctor was involved in a homosexual relationship with another parter, and this partner demanded the employee be fired because of a growing relationship between the doctor and the employee? Would it still be argued as "sex discrimination?" If the answer here is no, then I'd suggest it ought to be "no" in this case as well.

 

I don't think I'd call this "sex discrimination" as the plaintiff does, especially because he hired another woman in place of her...

 

That's kind of one of the things they point out in the decision. The official reason she was fired was because of a developing relationship, which they deem as separate from gender. I think the main hinge is that he treated her unfairly, but not because of her gender. It was legal in this case, at least as far as Iowa law was concerned, to fire someone unfairly so long as it isn't for reasons that are protected by anti-discrimination law.

I still find it crazy that he only gave her one month's severance. That's the douchiest thing he did imo.



#26 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14027

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:02 AM

My ruling: Figure it out for yourselves, idiots.

Logic: I am not your marriage council.
Man decides to marry woman accepting that this is a proclamation to his undying love to said woman, no matter who else upon which he sets eyes.

A woman comes along and his eyes start to gaze.
It was also her intent to gain salary.

They both fail at life.
He should by court lose his wife. He is clearly unworthy of any meaningful relationship. He should also be labelled so that future women can recognize this fact.
She thinks her value as a human is within her body. She is an idiot. All humans’ value is within the brain. It doesn’t matter if she is sentenced to permanent jail or death. It is basically the same for such a worthless thing.


Our legal system has more important things to discuss. These people only waste time.


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#27 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:47 AM

Employers an the US are "at-will" employers, meaning that an employee can be terminated at any time and for any reason (except, of course, for legally forbidden reasons like race or gender). The dentist didn't need to give a reason for the firing at all, and the sex discrimination tack sounds like a reach to me.

That said, even if there isn't a legal problem there's certainly a moral one. It's hard to argue that, if they couldn't work together any more, and for a reason so internal to the dentist as opposed to the business, the assistant had to be fired. The dentist could have quit or sold his interest in the business with the same outcome temptation-wise.

If the assistant was fired because of presumed sexual interaction, on anyone's part, regardless of what the assistant did or did not do, that's a pretty BS rationale that absolutely hinged on her gender and appearance. It is unfair, and I don't see a whole lot of meaningful difference between "I fired her because she wouldn't sleep with me" and "I fired her because someone thought she might sleep with me".

#28 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22263

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:20 PM

It is unfair, and I don't see a whole lot of meaningful difference between "I fired her because she wouldn't sleep with me" and "I fired her because someone thought she might sleep with me".

There is all the difference in the world.

The first is coercion, and in some cases could be considered rape.

The second is avoiding a legally risky and morally inappropriate situation.


In this case all three layers of the courts agreed with the business owner. There have been many similar cases with the same result. Firing someone because of a risk of sexual relationships or jealousy is not protected by the law. Many people have been legally fired for that before, and many will be fired for it later.

The supreme court correctly pointed out that this firing is the opposite of discrimination, allowing it to continue could result in a lawsuit. Firing her is the least risky legal situation. The business owner did the right thing.

If the courts did say it was illegal to fire her then it means the business would be basically immune from sexual discrimination and harassment in the future. It would be a very easy case: "We tried to fix the situation before the harassment took place but the supreme court forced us not to, and here is the proof." All three courts realized just how insane that would have been.

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#29 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

I meant that the two are similar for the person fired in terms of the result, in which he or she loses the job because a person with the power to fire him or her finds him or her attractive. There's no question that "sleep with me or you're fired" is rape. Being attractive enough that your employer may not be able to resist propositioning you is a BS reason to be fired that you can do nothing to prevent or protect yourself from.

And the outcome may be legally acceptable, necessary, or even ideal. But, as the court decision stated, it's not fair to be fired for being deemed too attractive by someone or another. I would be beyond pissed to be fired for such a reason, especially with no legal recourse or compensation.

#30 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 05:12 PM

If the courts did say it was illegal to fire her then it means the business would be basically immune from sexual discrimination and harassment in the future. It would be a very easy case: "We tried to fix the situation before the harassment took place but the supreme court forced us not to, and here is the proof." All three courts realized just how insane that would have been.

 

Admitting to intending to sexual harass someone should be a crime in and onto itself. It's like planning to swindle someone or worse.


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#31 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2454

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 05:21 PM

There's no question that "sleep with me or you're fired" is rape.

That's a pretty big statement to make. It's certainly an evil thing to do, but I don't thunk you can equate the experience of someone being physically violated with coercion.

As for this case, I think it's pretty messed up. It's pretty simple; you're married, don't sleep with other people. Having an attractive person around is not an excuse. Learn to keep it in your pants.
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#32 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 10:02 PM

If the courts did say it was illegal to fire her then it means the business would be basically immune from sexual discrimination and harassment in the future. It would be a very easy case: "We tried to fix the situation before the harassment took place but the supreme court forced us not to, and here is the proof." All three courts realized just how insane that would have been.

 

 

Admitting to intending to sexual harass someone should be a crime in and onto itself. It's like planning to swindle someone or worse.

That's pretty thoughtcrime-y. That's like convicting a recovering alcoholic of drunk driving for not going to the bar because they know they'd get drunk and drive home if they went there.



#33 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:23 PM

If the courts did say it was illegal to fire her then it means the business would be basically immune from sexual discrimination and harassment in the future. It would be a very easy case: "We tried to fix the situation before the harassment took place but the supreme court forced us not to, and here is the proof." All three courts realized just how insane that would have been.

 

 

Admitting to intending to sexual harass someone should be a crime in and onto itself. It's like planning to swindle someone or worse.

That's pretty thoughtcrime-y. That's like convicting a recovering alcoholic of drunk driving for not going to the bar because they know they'd get drunk and drive home if they went there.

 

Or that's like telling people you're going to swindle someone out of their SS checks and the police finding documentation of your plans and the person's personal information.


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#34 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22263

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:44 AM



If the courts did say it was illegal to fire her then it means the business would be basically immune from sexual discrimination and harassment in the future. It would be a very easy case: "We tried to fix the situation before the harassment took place but the supreme court forced us not to, and here is the proof." All three courts realized just how insane that would have been.



Admitting to intending to sexual harass someone should be a crime in and onto itself. It's like planning to swindle someone or worse.
That's pretty thoughtcrime-y. That's like convicting a recovering alcoholic of drunk driving for not going to the bar because they know they'd get drunk and drive home if they went there.
It is a business.

It is not so different from if a business owner who sees a high risk of "employee dishonesty" (theft) and then fires an otherwise good worker merely on suspicious behavior without actual proof.

Or a business owner who can see that certain employees are a high risk for damaging goods, and then firing them.

Or a bar owner who stops serving drinks to somebody when they look drunk. (In many places this is mandated by law, it is such a high legal risk.)

Business owner sees a very legitimate legal concern (high probability of a sex-related infraction) and takes action to avoid the legal problem.


As the defense pointed out, and all three levels of the courts pointed out, this is an entirely legitimate business move. It has happened many times, gone through the courts many times, and repeatedly seen to be a perfectly legal business decision. They see a legitimate risk, and they take steps to manage the risk. It is not discrimination.

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#35 Greg Quinn   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:38 AM

I agree with the ruling.

 

The employee is not just being fired for 'being too attractive', the employee was fired because she was putting stress on the boss's marriage, even though that stress was initiated by the boss's wife most likely. 

 

If the bosses relationship with his wife is strained because of an employee, one could argue it is causing distress of some degree in the work place, and the only way to keep a company running successfully is to remove something causing problems in the work place.






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