January 9, 2013
Being Fired Because Your Too Attractive Is Not Actionable
Nelson v. Knight, (Iowa Supreme Court Dec. 21, 2012), is one of those cases that you just have to read and which received a significant amount of media coverage. The Court, applying Iowa state law against employment discrimination held that it was not discrimination to fire an employee simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction.
The Court looked to sexual favoritism cases under Title VII which held that it was not unlawful to give preference to your girl friend because the preference had nothing to do with her gender. Rather, the preference was given because she was your girlfriend. As the Court expalined:
Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act are not general fairness laws, and an employer does not violate them by treating an employee unfairly so long as the employer does not engage in discrimination based upon the employee’s protected status.
As unfair as this is, it does seem to be correct. Law review commentary would be most welcome.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein