Iowa Employment Law Blog

Iowa Employment Law Blog

Alert and inform about legal issues, risks, and solutions relating to employees

Published By Patrick D. Smith

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Employer’s Consistent Use of Progressive Discipline Defeats Discrimination Claim

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Eighth Circuit, Human Resources Compliance

Although many employers use progressive discipline policies, I am typically not a big fan.   In theory progressive discipline seems like a good idea:  it allows an employee to learn from their mistakes.  It puts the employee on notice that further discipline is going to have more serious consequences.    It is difficult for an employee who… Continue Reading

Court Rules Government Agency Violated Employer’s Due Process Rights in Connection with Whistleblower Investigation

Posted in Eighth Circuit, Litigation and Trials

Good news for employers—you have due process rights too. So ruled the court in Business Communications, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Education  (8th Cir. 12/2/13).  The Federal Government awarded Business Communications, Inc. (BCI) contracts to install cables in two school districts. The money for the project was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA” a/k/a the… Continue Reading

Don’t Forget About the Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies Defense: Eighth Circuit Holds that it Still Applies to Retaliation Claims, Overruling Precedent to the Contrary

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Title VII

Title VII requires an employee alleging unlawful discrimination or retaliation to file an administrative charge with the EEOC (or a similar a state or local agency with authority to seek relief) before bringing a suit in court.   EEOC is charged with investigating claims and pursuing conciliation between the employee and employer where appropriate. The purpose of the… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Finds that Public Employee’s Gender Discrimination Claim Not Subject to Time Limits of Title VII

Posted in Eighth Circuit, Sex Discrimination, Title VII

Crystal Henley enrolled in the Kansas City Police Academy in September 2005. By November 8, she was forced to leave and was not able to complete her training to become a police officer.   During her short time at the Academy, Henley claims she was treated more harshly than male trainees, subject to sexual harassment, and even… Continue Reading

Similarly Situated in All Relevant Aspects

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Race Discrimination, Title VII

Very seldom is there overt evidence an employer discriminated on the basis of race, sex, disability, etc.   Most of the time plaintiff employees have to prove their claim by showing they were treated less favorably than similarly situated employees who were not in the protected class.   For example, if there is evidence the employer imposed… Continue Reading

Political Discrimination Case Involving UI Law School is Making Waves

Posted in Eighth Circuit, Litigation and Trials

In my practice I frequently represent counties, municipalities, school districts and other public entities.   Just like their counterparts in the private sector, public employees are protected against discrimination because of race, sex, age, religion, disability, and other protected statuses. However, public employees have one important right their private sector brethren do not share: the right under… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Issues Significant Ruling on Sex Stereotyping and Gender Discrimination

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Title VII

On January 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a decision that is likely to expand the frontiers of sex discrimination litigation in this circuit (which covers Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota).   In Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, a female plaintiff who had masculine characteristics… Continue Reading

Gross v. FBL Remand: Eighth Circuit Considers Additional Issues

Posted in Age Discrimination, Litigation and Trials, U.S. Supreme Court

On November 30, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion on the remand of  Gross v. FBL Financial Group, Inc.   We have discussed the Gross case in several previous posts (here, here, and here).  The case has particular local interest because it was tried in the Southern District of Iowa, appealed… Continue Reading