The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of disability (IA Code Sec. 216.1 et seq.). The Act covers all public employers and private employers with four or more employees (IA Code Sec. 216.6(6)). A separate law also prohibits disability discrimination by employers receiving public funds.
Under state law, the term “disability” means:
• A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
• A record of such an impairment
• Being perceived as having such an impairment
• A positive HIV test result or a diagnosis of AIDS or an AIDS-related condition
The term “physical impairment” includes any physiological disease, disorder, cosmetic disfigurement, anatomical loss, or any other impairment affecting a body system (e.g., respiratory, digestive, or reproductive system). “Mental impairment” means any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation or emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
The term "regarded as having an impairment" means that a person:
• Is perceived as having a physical or mental impairment when the person has no impairment
• Has an impairment that is perceived to be more limiting than it actually is
• Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others (IA Admin. Code Sec. 161-8.26(216)).
Federal law compared. Although the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has similar provisions to the state law, amendments changed the ADA's definition of a "regarded as" disability. Under the amended ADA, a person is regarded as having an ADA disability if he or she is subjected to an ...