Iowa News & Analysis

  • Maintaining safe workplace could mean notifying employees about contagious coworker

    Q An employee showed up at work with symptoms that later resulted in a diagnosis of mumps. What obligations, if any, do we have to notify other employees who may have been exposed?

  • Agency Action

    DOL takes more steps to advance apprenticeships. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) along with monetary awards in its continuing effort to expand apprenticeships. In the announcement, the DOL said the NPRM would establish a process for the agency to advance the development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). A 2017 Executive Order created the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which developed recommendations on how to best expand the apprenticeship model. The new NPRM reflects key recommendations from the task force. The DOL also announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component. The agency also will make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap.

  • 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.