Knights unfair decision to terminate nelson while

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Knight's unfair decision to terminate Nelson (while paying her a rather ungenerous one month's severance) does not jeopardize that goal. This is illustrated by the fact that Dr. Knight hired a female replacement for Nelson. As the Platner court observed, “‘[W]e do not believe that Title VII authorizes courts to declare unlawful every arbitrary and unfair employment decision.’ ” Id. at 905 (quoting Holder v. City of Raleigh, 867 F.2d 823, 825–26 (4th Cir.1989)). Nelson's viewpoint would allow any termination decision related to a consensual relationship to be challenged as a discriminatory action because the employee could argue the relationship would not have existed but for her or his gender. This logic would contradict federal caselaw to the effect that adverse employment action stemming from a consensual workplace relationship (absent sexual harassment) is not actionable under Title VII. See, e.g., Benders v. Bellows & Bellows, 515 F.3d
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Spring 2017 LER 590-E: GOVERNMENT REGULATION II 23 | P a g e 757, 768 (7th Cir.2008) (holding that allegations that an employee's termination was based on the owner's desire to hide a past consensual relationship from his wife were “insufficient to support a cause of action for sex discrimination”); see also Blackshear v. Interstate Brands Corp., No. 10–3696, 2012 WL 3553499, at *3 (6th Cir.2012) (affirming summary judgment for the employer where the employee presented evidence that she was treated unfairly due to her supervisor's jealousy of her relationship with another employee, and noting that “personal animus ... cannot be the basis of a discrimination claim under federal or Ohio law”); West v. MCI Worldcom, Inc., 205 F.Supp.2d 531, 544–45 (E.D.Va.2002) (granting summary judgment to an employer when an employee was removed from a project because of a supervisor's animosity toward the employee over her termination of their consensual relationship but there was no evidence the supervisor had made unwanted advances to the employee following the termination of that relationship). Nelson raises a legitimate concern about a slippery slope. What if Dr. Knight had fired several female employees because he was concerned about being attracted to them? Or what if Ms. Knight demanded out of jealousy that her spouse terminate the employment of several women? The short answer is that those would be different cases. If an employer repeatedly took adverse employment actions against persons of a particular gender because of alleged personal relationship issues, it might well be possible to infer that gender and not the relationship was a motivating factor. It is likewise true that a decision based on a gender stereotype can amount to unlawful sex discrimination. Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 251, 109 S.Ct. 1775, 1791, 104 L.Ed.2d 268, 288 (1989) (“As for the legal relevance of sex stereotyping, we are beyond the day when an employer could evaluate employees by assuming or insisting that they matched the stereotype associated with their group, for [i]n forbidding employers to discriminate against individuals because of
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