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Looking into the case of the fired 'irresistible' dental assistant

Everyone in Los Angeles has probably heard the strange story of the Iowa dental assistant who was fired because her boss was attracted to her. It is such a strange story that it has been all over just about every news source.

Sometimes, when news stories become popular, the coverage does not always go into detail, so we thought we'd write a post delving into what happened here.

The dental assistant began working for the dentist in 1999. Over the decade-plus she worked for him, her performance was never an issue. The two began exchanging personal communication in about 2009, but both sides agree the text messages and emails were innocent.

Around that same time, though, the dentist told the dental assistant that her wardrobe was too provocative, which she disagrees with, and made a lewd comment toward her. Not long after, the dentist told the dental assistant that he had spoke with his wife and pastor and because they all agreed that his attraction to her was putting his marriage in peril, the dental assistant had to be fired.

The dental assistant sued and her case worked its way to the Iowa Supreme Court. Last week, the justices ruled that it was acceptable for the dentist to fire the dental assistant because he was attracted to her, and that a firing on such grounds did not constitute wrongful termination, discrimination or sexual harassment.

For understandable reasons, this story has surprised many people, including us. Simply put, it isn't the outcome many employment law experts would have predicted. If any further news develops on this story, you can be assured we will read it with interest.

Source: CNN, "Iowa Supreme Court: OK to fire 'irresistible' worker," Dana Ford, Dec. 22, 2012

 

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