News & Views

Woman fired because she was too attractive

BY Daniel Gorry
Employment law
BG Purple

The Supreme Court of Iowa has found that a dental hygienist who was sacked because she was too attractive was fairly dismissed by her employer.

Melissa Nelson had worked for more than 10 years at the dental practice when the dentist running the practice dismissed her because his wife felt threatened by her.  

The all-male Supreme Court thought this was a perfectly sensible reaction by the dentist and decided that she had not been discriminated against on the grounds of her sex. The court heard that Ms Nelson had been repeatedly told that her clothing was too tight and distracting by her employer. She denied wearing inappropriate clothing and was dismayed by the decision to dismiss her. 

Ms Nelson’s lawyer said "Women already have to balance on the very fine line of being respected, professional and well-liked in the workplace without having their perceived charm or attractiveness garner unwanted sexual advances, harassment and HR."

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