In my last post (Iowa Court Upholds Firing Woman for Being Too Hot), I wrote about the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision that "an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction." While many of you were spending time with family and friends, I was obsessing over the ramifications of this decision.
So I have the following questions for the Iowa Supreme Court (but I would totally understand if they were too busy with other court business to answer).
Since the case was decided on summary judgment, there must have been no dispute as to the plaintiff’s attractiveness or her irresistibility. But is it a subjective standard, such that her boss only had to show that he finds her irresistibly attractive? Or is it an objective standard, such that a reasonable person would find her so? Either way, would it have killed you guys to include a photo with the decision?
Also, I’m confused about the "irresistible" aspect of the requirement. Does this mean that some person or persons literally cannot resist her beauty? If so, what is it they can’t resist doing? Making inappropriate comments, like the defendant here (who according to the opinion, admitted telling the plaintiff "that if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing")? Or does it extend to an inability to resist unwanted touching?
Can we assume that what would be considered sexual harassment against a less attractive plaintiff is acceptable against one whom, as a matter of law, cannot be resisted?
Finally, has Iowa seen a mass exodus of good looking workers as they move to jurisdictions that expect bosses to control their behavior regardless of how attractive they find their subordinates?
Here’s a link to the decision.