When it comes to the Iowa sexual discrimination law in the workplace, this state has its own civil rights act. The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 makes sexual discrimination by employers and labor organizations illegal.
Under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, an employer is every person employing employees in the state including, but not limited to, according to the Civil Rights Act, “the state of Iowa or any political subdivision, board, commission, department, institution, or school district”. This differs from the federal Title VII because Title VII only refers to employers who have fifteen or more employees instead of EVERY employer as stated in the Iowa law.
Employees under Iowa law are those who are employed by an employer (as defined above).
The Iowa Civil Rights Act covers job discrimination on the basis of gender. This includes refusing to hire, firing, contrasting job terms, conditions and compensation all based on a person’s gender. It also includes pregnancy related issues which, under this code, must be treated as a temporary disability.
Anyone who wants to file a complaint against their employer must do so with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act by visiting the office or by sending in a complaint. Each complaint must include your contact information, your employer’s contact information and a detailed statement outlining the facts surrounding your complaint.
The Commission will then contact your employer and give him or her a copy of the complaint. You and your employer will then be asked to fill out a questionnaire as well as be given the option to attend mediation.
From there, an investigator will look at your case and then an Administrative Law Judge will make the determination of reasonable cause or no reasonable cause to believe your rights have been violated.
If the judge finds reasonable cause, you will enter a settlement phase with your employer. If this phase fails, the case will go to public hearing.
If you decided, instead, to file your case with the state or federal courts, you’ll need to request a “Right to Sue” letter from either the EEOC or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission first. As a side note, in Iowa state courts, there is no trial by jury for cases falling under the Civil Rights Act.
As an employer, it’s your job to know your responsibilities in the workplace. One of those responsibilities is to help keep your employees informed of Iowa Labor Law. Be sure to always have an updated Iowa Complete Labor Law poster posted in your workplace.