Iowa News & Analysis

  • Workplace Trends

    NFIB speaks out against predictive scheduling laws. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) issued a statement in March in opposition to state and local laws requiring employers to provide hourly workers their work schedules weeks in advance. The organization said such laws aren't always possible or realistic for small businesses. "It severely limits owners' control over their scheduling decisions and urgent business needs," the statement said. The organization pointed to laws in Oregon, Seattle, and San Francisco and said the unpredictability of staff needs in certain industries like construction and hospitality raises concerns. "The laws not only prevent employers from adjusting to market changes, bad weather, or other demands outside their control, but they also prevent employees from picking up additional work hours at a moment's notice or requesting unanticipated time off," the statement said.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair claims joint-employment comment review not outsourced. Responding to concerns from congressional Democrats, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring says his agency is not outsourcing the review of public comments on the joint-employer standard. In March, Ring wrote a letter to Bobby Scott, chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Frederica S. Wilson, chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions, saying the Board has not outsourced the substantive review of comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on what constitutes joint employment. Instead, he said the NLRB decided "to engage temporary support on a limited, short-term basis to perform the initial sorting and coding of the public comments." He said the process ensures confidentiality protections are in place, and the Board's professionals will perform the first substantive review of the comments.

  • DOL proposes long-awaited overtime rule, issues more opinion letters

    Last month was a busy time for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The agency issued a much-anticipated new rule governing overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as three new opinion letters covering the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the FLSA.

  • Transgender rights in the workplace

    In the first quarter of 2019, two court decisions reinforced that the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) protects gender identity (i.e., transgender individuals) from being treated differently. The first case was a jury verdict in favor of a transgender man (meaning he was assigned female at birth and presents as a male) who worked as a nurse for the state of Iowa/Iowa Department of Corrections. He alleged his employer denied his use of the men's restroom and locker rooms and denied insurance coverage for a medical procedure because of his gender identity. A jury agreed and awarded him $120,000 in emotional distress damages for this discrimination. The evidence at trial showed his employer singled him out by forcing him to travel away from his worksite to use a single-stall, gender-neutral restroom. He was also denied a medically necessary procedure to treat his gender dysphoria, the psychiatric diagnosis in which a person's biological sex conflicts with their gender identity.

  • Know the legal issues you face when employees work past 65

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 are still employed. That number has been steadily rising, and it's expected to reach 36 percent over the next five years.

  • Walmart greeter fiasco provides important employment lessons

    Have you ever walked into a Walmart and been greeted by an employee—frequently disabled or elderly—who seemed to have no responsibilities other than to welcome customers to the store? Did you ever wonder what the point of the position was or why a corporation the size of Walmart would pay so many people to do it?

  • Caring for adult child might qualify for FMLA leave

    Q One of our employees is caring for her daughter (over the age of 18) because of complications from childbirth. Does care of a child over 18 qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

  • Workplace Trends

    Most professionals negotiate salary offers, survey finds. Research from staffing firm Robert Half finds that 55% of professionals surveyed tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last employment offer, a 16-point jump from a similar survey released in 2018. Among workers in the 28 U.S. cities polled, Miami, San Diego, and San Francisco had the most respondents who asked for more pay, while Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Cleveland had the fewest. A separate survey showed that 70% of senior managers said they expect some back-and-forth on salary. About six in 10 are more open to negotiating compensation than they were a year ago.

  • Disgruntled or defamed: performance feedback under Iowa law

    Performance feedback, even negative feedback, is a critical component of the workplace. Such feedback may lead to improved performance and innovation. On the other hand, it can also lead to discipline and termination. In the latter scenario, employees may lose their jobs and question whether the feedback was fair. Employees, even at-will employees who lose their jobs, may believe the feedback was illegal and damaged their ability to work, resulting in defamation claims. Let's look at what defamation is and how you can minimize your liability.

  • Like the Loch Ness Monster, standards surface on joint employment only to disappear

    Employment law can be mysterious and gray . . . very gray. Like the concepts of Big Foot or Nessy, it can inspire almost mythical and sometimes tragic quests for answers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and other agencies appear preoccupied with assessing whether companies are joint employers with significant joint liability. And as with many myths and legends, the truth is in the eye of the beholder.