The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from employment discrimination based on age (IA Code Sec. 216.1 et seq.). The law applies to persons 18 years of age or older and covers employers with four or more employees (IA Code Sec. 216.6(3) and (6)(a)). Under the state law, it is unlawful to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, or to otherwise discriminate in employment against any applicant for employment or any employee because of age, unless on the basis of the nature of the occupation.
• Make preemployment inquiries regarding the age of an applicant that express any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to age, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
• Intentionally aid, abet, compel, or coerce another person to engage in discriminatory acts or to discriminate or retaliate against any person who has lawfully opposed discrimination or has assisted in any proceeding under the state law.
• Advertise or indicate or publicize that individuals of any particular age are unwelcome or not acceptable for employment, unless on the basis of the nature of the occupation.
• Coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person who exercises rights granted under the state law, or who helps or encourages another person to exercise protected rights.
The rules for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission specifically state that advertisements for employment shall not contain age-related terms such as “young,” “boy,” “girl,” “college student,” or “recent college graduate,” unless such requirements are a BFOQ (IA Admin. Rule 161-8.15(4)). Instead, employers should concentrate on degrees earned or training received that relate to the requirements of the position.