A young, twenty-year-old woman sat nervously in the dentist's office, anxiously awaiting her job interview. She was a fresh college graduate seeking a position as a dental assistant and hoped to work for this small, family-owned company. Her skills were unparalleled and her enthusiasm contagious. When she left the interview with a promise of employment, the woman couldn't believe her luck. She committed herself to the position and spent the next ten years working alongside the dentist-a man old enough to be her father.
While the woman's attitude, demeanor, and work performance surpassed those of prior assistants, the woman had one fatal flaw: she was beautiful. The dentist labeled the woman's clothing "revealing" and "distracting" and asked her not to dress in a manner that accentuated her body. The woman adamantly denied that her clothes were inappropriate and asked the dentist for clarification on the standard of dress. The response was simple-if the woman noticed the dentist's pants bulging, she should infer that her clothing was too tight and distracting.
Republished with permission. This article first appeared in the The Texas Journal of Women and the Law in 2014.