Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Adam, Eve and Iowa

Under Iowa civil rights law, discrimination against any applicant for employment or any employee because of age, race, creed, color, sex or sexual orientation is illegal. Recently, Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that Iowa law allows an employer to fire an employee because the employer has an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employee has not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. 

The all-male court opined that a dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant simply because the boss and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage. The court acknowledged that such a firing might be unfair, but it was not unlawful discrimination because, according to the written opinion, it was based on “emotion” and “feeling” rather than on gender. 

Logic this tortured is possible because, like Idaho, the Iowa court has no female voices to read the proposed ruling and respond with a simple, “Huh?”

Would the logic of differentiating between emotion and discrimination have made sense to the justices if this case involved a male employee told that he was being fired because his gay employer or the boss’s gay boyfriend found him too attractive? It is much more likely they would have realized this case is all about gender.

Blaming women because men find them tempting has been a rallying cry since Adam erred in the Garden of Eden. However, in Iowa at least, it’s still all Eve’s fault.

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