Too beautiful to work. No, really this time!

by Cameron Edmond19 Jul 2013

HC has previously reported on a woman who thought herself too beautiful to work, but it seems the tables have turned now that a 33-year-old woman has been fired for being too attractive.

The New York Times reported that Melissa Nelson, a dental assistant from Iowa, had her employment terminated in 2010 by her boss for being too attractive.

Dr James Knight said he was too tempted by Nelson’s beauty, and the married man was worried he would have an affair, so he fired Nelson to prevent his infidelity. Reportedly, the firing was at the insistence of his wife.

Nelson sued Dr Knight on grounds of sex discrimination, but the Iowa district court dismissed the case. The court stated her firing was not due to her gender, but due to her “threat” to Dr Knight’s marriage.

Nelson appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, who upheld the lower court’s decision.

Although on some level bizarre, the case raises concern. “Discrimination based on beauty is rooted in the same sexist principle as discrimination against the ugly,” Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University, wrote.

”What a pathetic commentary on Mr [sic] Knight:  his willpower so limp, his commitment to his wife so weak, that he must be shielded from the hot and the beautiful,” he added.