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Employment Laws in Iowa

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on December 17, 2012.

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Employers in Iowa must conform to these state rules relating to the employment relationship.

Employee means a person employed by an employer but does not include individuals who work in the employer's home if the employer or members of the employer's family live in the home during the period of employment; or the employment of individuals to render personal service to the employer or the employer's family.

Employer means persons employing four or more workers within Iowa.

Employer does not include any employer who regularly employs less than four individuals, or religious institutions, educational facilities, associations, corporations or societies for purposes of qualifications for employment based on religion when those qualifications are related to a genuine religious purpose.

Prohibited Employment Discrimination

Employers may not discriminate against employees and job applicants on the basis of:

  • age
  • race
  • creed
  • color
  • sex
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • national origin
  • religion
  • pregnancy
  • disability
  • certain types of military status

Discrimination based on a person's having or being tested for HIV or AIDS is also prohibited.

Smokefree Air Act. An employer may not discharge, refuse to employ, or in any manner retaliate against an employee, applicant for employment, or customer because that employee applicant, or customer exercises any rights afforded under the Smokefree Air Act, registers a complaint, or attempts to prosecute a violation of the Smokefree Air Act.

Pay equity. Employers of four or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against an employee because of the age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability of the employee by paying wages at a rate less than that paid to other employees who are employed in the same business establishment for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions.

Volunteer emergency services providers. The Volunteer Emergency Services Providers Job Protection Act prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for joining a volunteer emergency services unit or organization and provides employment protection from termination for employees who are already members of these types of units or organizations.

Same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is allowed in Iowa.

Recordkeeping/Posting Requirements

As relief or penalty for civil rights violation, an employer may be directed to post in a conspicuous place notices setting forth requirements for compliance with the Civil Rights Act and to include this information in all advertising materials.

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