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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.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
8 Sep 2022
330 kB



  • Subject
    • Civil Rights and Discrimination

    • Gender

    • Labor and Employment Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice

  • Volume
    • 34

  • Issue
    • 3

  • Pagination
    • E. Supp. 14

  • Date submitted

    8 September 2022