July 15, 2013
Ms. Nelson was hired as a dental assistant in Dr. Knight’s office in 1999. In 2009, when his wife found out about text messages Knight and Nelson had exchanged, she demanded that Nelson be fired.
Dr. Knight followed through with his wife’s wishes in early 2010 in the presence of a pastor. According tothis story, Knight told Nelson that she had become a “detriment” to his family and their relationship was a threat to his marriage.
Nelson claims that Knight made inappropriate comments about her appearance and attire that were sexual in nature and argued that her being fired was an act of sex discrimination, but the court ruled that her firing was a result of feelings, not gender.
In the earlier ruling in December 2012, the justices claimed that the issue was “whether an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction.” After Friday’s ruling, Chief Justice Mark Cady changed the language and reiterated that Nelson was fired “because of the activities of her consensual personal relationship.”