Friday, December 28, 2012

Quote of the Week (Sexual Harassment Edition)

This week's Quote of the Week is presented here without comment, lest I say something that offends women, seeing as I live in a house with two of them (one big, one small). I'll just let this one speak for itself.


"The Iowa Supreme Court says a dentist did not commit sex discrimination when he fired an attractive female assistant he viewed as a threat to his marriage. The court ruled Friday that a boss can fire an employee he considers an 'irresistible attraction,' even if the employee has done nothing wrong. The decision is the first in Iowa, but in line with rulings elsewhere. Justices rejected a discrimination lawsuit filed by Melissa Nelson, who was fired by Fort Dodge dentist James Knight in 2010."
                                                 - Quad-City Times, via Associated Press

Okay, fine, I'll comment, but just for a second. For what it's worth, as a general rule, I think that people should be able to be fired for just about any reason, just because I think it's silly that nobody really has to provide reasons why they didn't hire anybody in the first place, but then they are expected to provide well-documented reasons why they did fire somebody, just because they made the initial decision to hire them.

It's basically your typical act of omission versus act of commission scenario, and I typically think that such distinctions have a tendency to become arbitrary and stupid. If we place restrictions on firing, then all we're really doing is making it less likely that anybody would ever want to hire anybody in the first place. And that's a lesson that France seems intent on learning the hard way. Let's not be like France, mkay?

Anyway, the dentist in question in this case is definitely a moron, and he is almost certainly guilty of sexual harassment and deserving of some type of punishment—via karma if not via the court system. However, in my semi-libertarian opinion, there is no reason that we need to place restrictions on discretionary hiring and firing decisions simply because of this guy's moron-itude. Being a moron (or a scumbag) is not, in general, an act that must be punishable under the law—I'll leave that punishment to the dentist's wife, who I'm quite certain is up to the task.

As for Ms. Nelson, why exactly would somebody want to work in an environment with a creepy-ass dentist who makes off-color sexual remarks in the first place? Her dismissal is probably for the best for just about everyone involved here, in my humble opinion. But hey, maybe I should've just not commented on this one, after all...

[Quad-City Times]

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