A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.Iowa's Supreme Court of seven members is all male, and consists of four Republican appointees and three Democratic appointees.
A pertinent bit from the decision itself:
Nelson also raises a serious point about sexual harassment. Given that sexual harassment is a violation of antidiscrimination law, Nelson argues that a firing by a boss to avoid committing sexual harassment should be treated similarly. But sexual harassment violates our civil rights laws because of the “hostile work environment” or “abusive atmosphere” that it has created for persons of the victim’s sex. See, e.g., Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 786–90, 118 S. Ct. 2275, 2283–84, 141 L. Ed. 2d 662, 675–78 (1998). On the other hand, an isolated decision to terminate an employee before such an environment arises, even if the reasons for termination are unjust, by definition does not bring about that atmosphere.I'm personally of the opinion that this allows a different kind of sexual harassment altogether - granting the ability to fire a person of the opposite sex on the basis of nothing substantial whatsoever creates an environment where anyone who fears they might be somewhat attractive to their boss must dress down and basically walk on eggshells. The court rightly notes that they would step in, in a clear case where multiple women had been fired under such a pretext - but it shouldn't have to go that far.