22 December 2012

Office Flirtations

The Iowa Supreme Court filed an opinion yesterday, Nelson v. Knight, which resulted from office flirtation between a female employee and a male employer. Sex had not occurred but certainly was on the horizon when Mrs. Employer determined that her husband should fire the attractive, flirtatious, and suggestive employee. Well, Employee didn't think much of being fired, was apparently somewhat bitter about the whole experience, and brought suit alleging sex discrimination. Basically, she, Employee, was fired so that sex would not occur. Mrs. Employer was concerned that Mr. Employer might take advantage of the obvious offer of sexual gratification through his long acquaintance and growing affection for Employee and declared that Mr. Employer fire Employee forthwith. Which he did. Employee brought a sex discrimination suit against Mr. Employer alleging that she was fired because of her sex. The Court spends considerable time developing the thesis that this was not the case; that Employee was fired because she was a threat to Mr. Employer's marriage. She was fired so that a flirtatious and suggestive situation not become sexual. Employee believes this to be sex discrimination. The Court thinks otherwise. Sex at the office is not sex discrimination. If an employee is fired because of a jealous wife, too bad. It may not be fair, and it may be in poor taste, but it isn't sex discrimination. Personal jealousy resulting from office sex is not actionable especially when pastors are involved as they were in this case. The church is involved when sin is imminent. Mr. Employer properly admitted to violating the tenth commandment and properly atoned for his sin. The Court certainly can not determine otherwise. We can now all rest easier when we realize that consensual office sex will not result in onerous litigation when things go wrong with the arrangement. Considering the fact that most of us work in offices with people of the opposite sex these sort of situations are bound to happen on occasion. What one does need to keep in mind though are angry spouses who may object and interject themselves into such a cozy tete-a-tete-they very seldom become a menage a trois.