Melissa Nelson was fired from her job of 10-years as a dental hygienist because her boss, Dr. James Knight, found her too irresistible.
She challenged this via the legal system, arguing it was a form of gender discrimination, and her case made it all the way to the all-male Iowa Supreme Court. In December, the court upheld Knight’s right to fire Nelson because the decision, they stated, was not based on gender. Her story spread after the extremely unpopular opinion and now the court is reconsidering the case.
Knight’s attorney Stu Cochrane told ABC News:
“Dr. Knight’s dismissal of Mrs. Nelson was perfectly legal according to all of the well-established case law not only in Iowa but in every other jurisdiction that has considered similar claims.”
Nelson’s attorney Paige Fiedler stated:
“I can tell you she was surprised and delighted by the news that the Iowa Supreme Court has withdrawn its earlier ruling. Not only does this breathe new life into her court case, it eliminates what many of us believed was a harmful legal and misguided precedent.”
Melissa, a married mother-of-two, was summoned to Dr. Knight’s office in 2010 and was read a prepared statement in regards to why he was terminating her. He had his pastor present in the room when he fired Nelson.
The two had shared text messages for nearly 6 months before the firing about their children and other mostly mundane details. Nelson said that she once received a text from Knight asking “how often she experienced an orgasm.” She didn’t respond, according to court documents, and never indicated that she was made uncomfortable by his question.
Knight is a married man and his wife, Jeanne, who was also an employee at the office, discovered the texts and demanded that he fire Nelson. The couple met with their pastor who agreed that for the sake of their marriage he should let Nelson go.
No new evidence will be presented so it looks like the court of popular opinion might have had some influence. Nelson will have to see if it was enough to bring her the justice she feels she deserves.