Iowa News & Analysis

  • Spots! Rash! Why do you think you can come to work?

    Over the last several years, diseases we thought were relegated to novels and history books have resurfaced. We have seen periodic outbreaks of mumps, whooping cough, chicken pox, and now the measles. By the end of May 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had reported measles outbreaks in 26 states. That's the largest number of cases reported since 1994.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice. To understand the Court's ruling, it's helpful to understand the EEOC's role in discrimination claims.

  • Does settling parent into nursing home qualify for FMLA leave?

    Q An employee who is eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave has asked to use it to spend time with her father, who is in a nursing home but having difficulty settling in. He has dementia and will listen only to family members. Is this a qualifying event? The employee wouldn't be her father's primary caregiver.

  • Workplace Trends

    Think you've made a hire? Maybe not. A survey from staffing firm Robert Half shows that more than a quarter of workers (28%) have backed out of a job offer after accepting the position. Why would a jobseeker do that? The survey says 44% of those changing their minds backed out after receiving a better offer from another company. For 27%, a counteroffer from their current employer led to the change of heart. In 19% of the cases, the jobseeker reported hearing bad things about the company after receiving the offer. The cities where jobseekers are more likely to renege are San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Austin, and Miami.

  • They came, they lunched, they passed some stuff: IA 2019 legislative session

    The Iowa State Legislature is all packed up and headed home, leaving behind it the standard chaos of a move-out: empty boxes, scattered papers, and a few things—some unidentifiable and possibly sticky—for employers to sort out.

  • First things first: Iowa Legislature funds governor's priorities in 2019 session

    The first session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly adjourned Saturday, April 27, 2019, with a long list of legislative accomplishments. Governor Kim Reynolds' priorities in her January State of the State address included funding for the Future Ready Iowa program (which identifies high-demand jobs and provides support for individuals seeking them), the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative (which seeks to connect, invest in, and grow rural communities), and mental health services expansion, as well as limiting liabilities for employers that take a risk employing individuals with criminal records. At the end of the session, the governor and the legislature had passed bills for all these priorities among others.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • September 30 deadline looms for newly required EEO-1 data

    Employers required to submit EEO-1 reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are venturing into uncharted territory as they work to collect newly required information due by September 30. While they may be accustomed to submitting traditional EEO-1 information—data on employees' race/ethnicity and gender, or what's being called Component 1 data—this year they also must compile data on compensation and hours worked, or what's being called Component 2 data.

  • If you require an employee to see a doctor, do you have to foot the bill?

    Q We have a new employee who has a significant odor problem. According to him, the smell is connected to a foot infection. Numerous coworkers have complained to management. The employee isn't eligible for benefits yet, so he has put off going to the doctor, but his manager said he must go for both his own health and the issue it's causing with coworkers. Are we crossing any lines by requiring him to see a doctor? Also, since we are requiring him to seek treatment, are we somehow required to pay the treatment cost?