We’ve written in the past about the perils of being too attractive and how that can potentially get in the way of your landing a job. (See: Too hot to hire?) Well a story that made headlines last week adds a new wrinkle to the situation.

A dental assistant was fired after ten years of service for being too much temptation for her boss to bear. Although there was no sexual relationship between the two, and both were married to other people, James Knight said that he had to let Melissa Nelson go because she was ‘irresistibly attractive’ to him. He feared that this would become a threat to his marriage.

(How this could possibly lead to an affair when the attraction wasn’t mutual didn’t come up in the court case.)

Knight’s wife, who worked in the same dental office was also threatened by Nelson’s good looks and insisted that she be fired.

Nelson filed a lawsuit claiming that she was wrongfully dismissed because of her gender. The case made its way all the way up to the state supreme court in Iowa. The seven (all male) judges there sided with Knight, agreeing that he was within his legal rights to fire Nelson. After all, she wasn’t fired for being a woman; she was fired for being a hot woman. Apparently that’s okay (in Iowa anyway.)

One wonders if Dr. Knight’s want ad for a replacement assistant will contain something like: “Must be of below average looks. Pretty women need not apply.”

So while there are many documented advantages that more attractive people enjoy (they’re hired first and promoted faster than equally qualified but homelier counterparts), apparently there are some drawbacks as well.

How about you? Have you witnessed anyone being fired for what looks like trivial or personal reasons? Please, share your stories with us.


Source: CNN, Court says it’s OK to fire ‘irresistible’ worker, December 22, 2012


Peter Harris

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