Iowa News & Analysis

  • 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?

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds lack of mentorship and coaching. New data from media agency network Mindshare U.S. found that 42% of U.S. employees said their companies either don't offer mentorship programs or don't offer enough of them. Men were more likely than women to say they either got enough or more than enough mentorship programs at work, at 57% versus 42%. The research also found that 66% of U.S. employees rank ongoing feedback or coaching on their work as an important or very important benefit in the workplace. Yet 28% of people surveyed said that they either don't get enough ongoing coaching or feedback or that their companies don't even offer it. The data showed that women were more likely than men to feel that way, at 31% versus 25%.

  • Hanky, panky, and spanky: consensual sexual conduct in the workplace

    It starts with a call—sometimes anonymous, sometimes with a name attached—to inform you about something going on at work that you might not be aware of: Two of your employees have become involved in a romantic relationship, and the caller isn't happy about it. As an employer, your first thought is always who is complaining? A client, a customer, a coworker—someone who has a foundation for a possible sexual harassment claim? And what do I need to do about it?

  • DOL says FMLA leave mandatory for employees and employers

    After more than 25 years, you might think questions regarding proper interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would be settled. It's a highly regulated law, and it provides employers far more detail and clarity than they get with most other labor and employment laws.

  • Tips to ensure you are prepared for a deposition

    For an HR professional, giving a deposition is a lot like visiting the dentist. You know it's necessary, but you probably aren't looking forward to it. You may be asked questions you don't want to answer (like how often you actually floss). And finally, consistently responsible practices should reduce your stress levels about the event, make it go a lot smoother, and prevent worse problems in the future.

  • Offering benefits to full-time seasonal employees

    Q We are looking to hire seasonal employees, preferably students, to work for 90 to 120 days. They will work 40 hours per week. What benefits must we provide?