On Friday, justices at the Iowa Supreme Court would not reinstate the sexual harassment suit from Webster County of a dental assistant who had been fired because the wife of her boss was opposed to, amongst other things, the two of them texting one another when not at work.
Court documents said that Melissa Nelson was employed as dentist James Knight’s assistant for 10 years. About one and a half years before the end of their working relationship, Knight started complaining that the tight clothing Nelson wore caused distractions.
The documents said that Dr. Knight acknowledged that he at one time told Nelson that if she were to see a bulge in his pants, she would know the clothing she had on was too revealing.
Knight said that after his assistant made a statement mentioning how infrequent she enjoyed a sex life, he told her that it was similar to keeping a Lamborghini in your garage and not driving it.
Over the last six month that Nelson was employed, she and the dentist started to text one another when they were not at work. Often the texts were about matters dealing with children. Nelson said she never flirted with her former boss.
Late in 2009, Knight’s wife learned of his texting with Nelson and demanded that he fire Nelson. Knight eventually told Nelson’s husband at the beginning of January 2010 that she was a huge threat to his marriage and he feared he would try to take part in an affair if she were to remain working with him.
Supreme Court Justices in Iowa ruled that the behavior does not constitute sexual harassment, since it was based on just specific emotions that were linked to a relationship and not based just on the gender of a person.