Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Decision finding no bias in firing because of jealous wife exemplifies poor reading of law.

, The National Law Journal


Decision finding no bias in firing because of jealous wife exemplifies poor reading of law.

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What's being said

  • WillDD

    She was female when she was hired. She was female during the 10 years that she was employed there. The remainder of the dentist's staff was female, and she was replaced by a female.

    She wasn't fired because she is female; she was fired because of her conduct. Attack the dentist's wife as a shrew if you like, but if the wife thought that an attractive male employee's texting with her husband was inappropriate, she probably would have made her husband fire him too.

  • Nelson Frost

    Professor Steinbuch appropriately criticizes the Iowa high court’s ruling in Nelson v. Knight. This decision invites employers who wish to improperly discriminate against employees to articulate a laundry list of now-valid excuses for wrongfully punishing or harassing certain employees. The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision certainly violates the spirit of anti-discrimination laws and Professor Steinbuch correctly suggests that the legislature should act swiftly to amend the statute.

  • Bruce Wilson

    Simply put, professor Steinbuch blew it:

    "Nelson sued under Idaho's state discrimination statute ..."

    The case arose in IOWA, only two states north of Arkansas, It is Iowa Supreme Court case No. 11-1857, decided December 21, 2012. The decision can be found at www.iowacourts.gov/Supreme_Court/Recent.../11-1857.pdf.

  • Roger McKee

    A law professor should always include a citation to a case he writes about, and know the jurisdiction it comes from. In this case it's Nelson v. James H. Knight, D.D.S., P.C., 2012 WL 6652747 (Iowa, 12-21-12).
    His argument that the test should be "subtantial motivating factor" rather than sole motivating factor makes sense in the context of the remedial purpose of the anti-discrimination statutes and to avoid pretext "red herring" defenses from employers.

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, DC

    Please, Prof. Steinbuch, stop justifying silly, court resource-consuming lawsuits. If Ms. Nelson is both strikingly beautiful and the best dental assistant Dr. Knight ever had, it wouldn't have taken her much more than a week -- even in Idaho -- to find a comparably- or even better-paying job. And why in the world would anyone, male or female, want to work for a boss whose spouse irrationally hates them and is determined to make their lives a living hell? If Ms. Nelson's attorney hadn't been a spotlight-seeking clown, s/he would have counseled against litigation and quietly negotiated with Dr. Knight a generous severance package for Ms. Nelson, including a glowing letter of reference and additional job-search assistance as needed. That's the way reasonable people settle life's little problems. We do not have to file lawsuits everytime we think life may have treated us unfairly.

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