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California Employment Law Commentary on Issues Facing California Employers

Iowa Supreme Court Reconsiders Protections for the Irresistably Attractive

Posted in Discrimination

I had some fun six months ago with an Iowa Supreme Court decision that said “an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction.” I first wrote about the decision last December (Iowa Court Upholds Firing Woman for Being Too Hot) and then followed it up a couple weeks later (Questions About Iowa’s “Irresistable Attraction” Test).

Well the Court reconsidered the issue and issued a new opinion today (pdf). While it again concluded that the fired employee doesn’t have a claim, it focused more on the employer’s belief that her continued presence was a threat to his marriage (a belief that his wife vocally supported). In fact, there’s no mention in the latest opinion about her being irresistable at all. On the contrary, the Court explicitly notes that — brace yourself — “both men and women are responsible for their own sexual desires and responses . . . and neither sex is responsible to monitor or control the desires of the other sex.” 

So that’s the takeaway here. Even in Iowa you’re expected to monitor and control your own desires. I hope that doesn’t ruin your weekend.

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