Court rethinking case of the ‘irresistible employee’

Remember that case I told you about in December when the Iowa Supreme Court said it was OK to fire a woman who worked in a dentist’s office because the dentist’s wife was jealous that he found the worker irresistible?

Never mind.

The court had ruled 7-0 for the Fort Dodge doctor, employing an odd twist of logic to explain itself.

The civil rights laws seek to insure that employees are treated the same regardless of their sex or other protected status. Yet even taking Nelson’s view of the facts, Dr. Knight’s unfair decision to terminate Nelson (while paying her a rather ungenerous one month’s severance) does not jeopardize that goal. This is illustrated by the fact that Dr. Knight hired a female replacement for Nelson.

Today, the Iowa Supreme Court chief justice pulled the opinion, giving the court until the end of the week to come up with a new one, the Des Moines Register reports.

It doesn’t happen often. A court spokesman called the situation “rare” and said it’s only happened five times in the last 10 years.