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Should an Iowa Dentist Have Fired his Attractive Assistant?
Should an Iowa Dentist Have Fired his Attractive Assistant?

Iowa's Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that a male dentist was within his legal rights to fire an attractive female assistant because he and his wife "feared he would try to have an affair with her down the road." The court said the dentist, who consulted his pastor first, did not discriminate based on gender.

What experts said (starting with "yes" and moving to "no"):

"Owners should not have to choose between keeping their business or marriage, and laws should not make it difficult for men to remove temptations that threaten their marriage. Employees do have some discretion over whether they find themselves in this situation."
Brad Dacus, president, Pacific Justice Institute

"We have to walk away from temptation; we just cannot court it, which would be happening if she had remained. The best thing to do would be to show compassion and help the woman find another job so she's not hurt by the firing."
Michael McManus, president, Marriage Savers

"The dentist made the right choice in fighting to save his marriage. But we should take this as a cautionary tale. By establishing boundaries at work early on, the situation would not have gotten as far, and that assistant would not have lost her job."
Greg Smalley, executive director of marriage and family formation, Focus on the Family

"If someone has many risk factors, then it's important to adjust behavior to protect the marriage relationship. But the employer would have many other options if he feels that his self-control is going to be stretched beyond his ability to stop himself."
Jennifer Ripley, doctoral psychology program director, Regent University (Virginia)

"Jesus said 'If your ...

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In the Magazine

March 2013

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