Iowa Selection and Testing: What you need to know

The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on age (18 years and older), race, creed, color, sex (including pregnancy and childbirth), sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability (including HIV and AIDS), unless such factors are relevant to the job in question. The law specifically prohibits employers from advertising or publishing discriminatory employment preferences unless the factors indicated are necessary for job performance (a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)). Employers may advertise and reserve positions specifically for individuals with disabilities, provided other suitable employment opportunities are available for individuals without disabilities. The Act applies to all public and private employers with four or more employees (IA Code Sec. 216.1 et seq.).
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Generally, employers may utilize professionally developed aptitude tests and other selection procedures if such tests are not designed, intended, or used to discriminate against a protected individual or group of individuals. Iowa law prohibits the use of any test that adversely affects the employment opportunities of classes protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) and by the Iowa Civil Rights Act, unless the test has been validated and the person giving the test can prove that alternative procedures are unavailable (IA Admin. Code Sec. 161-8.1(216)et seq.). The law defines “test” broadly to include any paper-and-pencil or performance measure used as a basis for any employment decision, including ability tests, measures of general intelligence, and personality tests. Employers who use tests to choose employment candidates must have ...

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