Pretty Dental Assistant Case, Iowa Supreme Court Fights Back, We ruled the way you plead it, so there!

Posted on Jul 12, 2013

In a rare revamping of its opinion the Iowa Supreme Court withdrew its earlier decision and re-issued its opinion. When attorneys come up ragging on the court and others insinuate the court is sexist the Court has every right to fight back to set the record straight. This time they did and did it very effectively by pointing out the limits of the ruling and the ruling being necessary as a result of how the case was plead. So there! As Bobby D said to Cuba Gooding, "Cookie watch out for what you wish for because you might just get it." Let me take an educated guess that things on the Iowa Trial Lawyers listserve are pretty quiet on this decision.

Filed July 12, 2013  NELSON v. KNIGHT DDS, P.C
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Thomas J. Bice, Judge.

A former employee appeals from the district court’s grant of summary judgment to an employer in a sex discrimination case. AFFIRMED.

MANSFIELD, Justice.1

Can a male employer terminate a long-time female employee because the employer’s wife, due to no fault of the employee, is concerned about the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee? This is the question we are required to answer today. For the reasons stated herein, we ultimately conclude the conduct does not amount to unlawful sex discrimination in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

We emphasize the limits of our decision. The employee did not bring a sexual harassment or hostile work environment claim; we are not deciding how such a claim would have been resolved in this or any other case. Also, when an employer takes an adverse employment action against a person or persons because of a gender-specific characteristic, that can violate the civil rights laws. The record in this case, however, does not support such an allegation.

Read More About Pretty Dental Assistant Case, Iowa Supreme Court Fights Back, We ruled the way you plead it, so there!...

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death