Update: Irresistible Worker Termination Decision Upheld on Reconsideration

As you may recall, I bloggupdateed a few months ago about an employee who was fired from her position as a dental assistant due to concerns about a relationship potentially developing between that employee and her employer. In this case, the employer’s wife was concerned that a sexual relationship was going to develop between the employer and the employee based on a sexual attraction and lewd texts. Due to this concern, the wife encouraged her husband (the employer) to discharge the employee.  At the time of my original blogging, the Iowa Supreme Court had issued a unanimous decision holding that there was no sex discrimination when a male employer terminates a female employee because there are concerns about the nature of the relationship between the parties. Following that decision, the Iowa Supreme Court granted re-consideration. The new decision has now been issued. Although the new decision is no longer unanimous, it continues to hold that there was no sex discrimination under the facts presented to it. The decision is based on evidence which supported a finding that the adverse employment action was based on the relationship between the parties rather than the employee’s gender. Indeed, the employee was replaced by another female. This decision confirms that when an adverse employment action is taken by an employer due to a consensual relationship between the employer and the employee, it is not gender discrimination. This time around, however, the Court cautions that had the employee alleged sexual harassment, their decision may have been different.