Document Type


First Page

E. Supp. 14


In 2010, Dr. James H. Knight DDS fired his employee, Melissa Nelson, explaining that his wife had become jealous of their consensual but nonsexual relationship. Nelson, in turn, filed a sex discrimination claim, alleging that her termination would not have occurred, but-for her sex. The Iowa Supreme Court sided with Knight, ruling that Nelson’s termination was due to Knight’s wife’s jealousy, irrespective of Nelson’s sex. This Comment argues that: (1) in the absence of sexual conduct, the court’s reliance on precedent involving consensual sexual relationships was misplaced; (2) in relying on the wrong precedent, the court set an unnecessarily high standard for plaintiffs to meet in a sex discrimination case; and (3) Nelson v. James H. Knight DDS, P.C. is instead a mixed-motives case and should have succeeded as a sex discrimination claim.