Iowa at the forefront of LGBTQ civil rights? How this little state in the middle of the country has led the way towards equality.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month!

Iowa Employment Law

Most Iowans know that Iowa was one of the earliest states to legalize gay marriage. 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum v. Brien decision in which the Court ruled that Iowa’s law prohibiting same sex couples from getting a marriage license violated the Iowa Constitution. This ruling made Iowa only the 3rd state in the nation to establish marriage equality and was six years before the US Supreme Court reached the same conclusion.

But a lesser known fact is that Iowa was also at the forefront of protecting the LGBTQ community from other types of discrimination. In 2007, the Iowa legislature amended the Iowa Civil Rights Act to extend its prohibition against discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, credit, housing and education. Iowa was the 19th state to include civil rights protections for gay people and only the 10th state to include protections for transgender people.

At Ann Brown Legal we are proud of Iowa’s history in standing up for the rights of LGBTQ individuals. All people deserve the right to work and support themselves and their families free from discrimination.

If you believe your employer (or a potential employer) has discriminated against you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, please call us to discuss your rights at (319) 826-2250.

Happy Pride Month to all!

Wage Theft - How your employer may be stealing from you without you even knowing.

Iowa Employment Lawyer 

A number of recent class action lawsuits brought by employees against their employers have called attention to the long-time problem of wage theft. Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay an employee all of the wages earned by the employee and can happen in any industry and to all types of employees. Here are a few common types of wage theft to watch out for:

  1. Working off the clock: Some employers may require employees to work before or after their scheduled hours doing things like putting on required protective gear, cleaning up or completing required paperwork, but will only pay the employee for the scheduled shift. 
  2. Failing to pay overtime: The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay non-exempt employees time and a half for hours worked over 40. Some employers will fail to pay the increased rate for overtime or may incorrectly classify employees as exempt in an attempt to avoid paying overtime. 
  3. Failing to pay for travel time: Employers are required to pay employees for certain travel time. However some employers refuse to do so. 
  4. Failing to pay for training time: Employers must pay employees while attending certain training sessions that are required by the employer. 
  5. Withholding pay: Some employers may take impermissible deductions from an employee paycheck or may withhold an employee's last check.

For Iowa workers, there are two laws aimed at protecting employees from wage theft—The Fair Labor Standards Act and The Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act. Often, claims for wage theft are filed as class action lawsuits on behalf of all employees of an employer who have been a victim of the theft. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a series of cases involving whether employers can include arbitration agreements and class action waiver in their employee agreements. The Court has not yet issued a ruling, but you can read more about the case here

If you believe your employer has committed wage theft and you would like to discuss whether you have a claim against your employer, please call our office at (319) 826-2250