Iowa Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

Iowa Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

Iowa is an “employment-at-will” state.
This means that an employer may generally terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, or for no reason, unless an agreement exists that provides otherwise. There are, however, limitations on the doctrine.
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As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Charitable contributions. Public employers may not terminate or discriminate against employees for declining to make charitable contributions (IA Code Sec. 70A.28).
Drug use. A discharge from employment may be based on an employee drug-testing program only if that program is being carried out in compliance with the governing statutory law (McVey v. National Organization Service, Inc., 719 N.W.2d 801 (Ia. 2006)).
Garnishment. It is illegal in Iowa to discharge an employee because his or her wages have been garnished (IA Code Sec. 642.21).
Jury duty. Iowa law prohibits an employer from discharging or threatening an employee because of jury service (IA Code Sec. 607A.45).
Military service. Employers may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against an individual for being a member of the Iowa military forces or civil air patrol (IA Code Sec. 29A.43).
Safety. Employers may not discharge or discriminate against employees who file complaints about suspected occupational health and safety violations or who refuse to expose themselves to dangerous conditions if no reasonable ...

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