Primary File Info
Fired for Being too Attractive
Mark A. Johnson, James P. Jolly
May 1, 2014
Strategy & General Management, Human Resources & Organizational Behavior
Sex discrimination, sexual harassment, employment-at-will, employee discipline, employee discharge
Journal of Case Studies
Dr. James Knight had a small dental practice. One of his employees, Melissa Nelson, had worked for the facility for approximately ten years. Dr. Knight and Nelson became quite close and shared with each other a lot of personal information and even at times made comments about their sex lives. Dr. Knight’s wife also was an employee at the dental office and she suspected that her husband might be having an affair with Nelson. When Mrs. Knight learned that her husband and Nelson had been texting one another while he was out of town on a trip, she demanded that he terminate Nelson’s employment. Dr. Knight complied with his wife’s demands and discharged Nelson. She subsequently filed sex discrimination charges in an Iowa District Court. Dr. Knight knew he needed to contact his attorney to discuss whether they could win the case and if so how.