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What You Need to Know About Workplace Retaliation in Iowa

Posted By Laura Schultes - 08.21.20

We commonly receive calls from workers in Iowa that they believe their employer is “retaliating” against them. Most often, these callers are using the word “retaliation” in a very broad sense and want to know if it is legal for their employer to engage in that retaliation. 

What is Considered Retaliation in the Workplace in Iowa?

Many people understand retaliation to have occurred when an employer punishes an employee for having engaged in some type of behavior – complaining about a co-worker, reporting that a manager is not good at his or her job, or not being afraid to speak their mind about internal policies and procedures.

That punishment may take the form of:

  • A pay cut
  • A demotion
  • Disciplinary action
  • A poor performance review
  • Reassignment to a different role or shift
  • Termination

But keep in mind that Iowa employment law does not protect employees from all kinds of retaliation. Instead, your employer has only engaged in illegal retaliation if they retaliate against you because you engaged in very specific types of behavior.  

Do You Have an Iowa Retaliation Claim?

In order to have a retaliation claim, you must be able to prove that your own behavior that caused the retaliation was “protected activity.”

Over the years, courts in Iowa have identified different types of protected activity for which employees should not suffer retaliation. For example, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for things like: 

  • Seeking workers’ compensation benefits
  • Reporting illegal activity – such as failure to comply with safety regulations
  • Refusing to participate in illegal activity
  • Engaging in conduct that is legally obligated – such as mandatory reporting of child abuse
  • Complaining about violations of civil rights

If you can establish that you engaged in these types of protected activity and for that reason, your employer took retaliatory action against you, then you may have a claim for illegal retaliation. 

How to Document Retaliation in the Workplace

If you think this is happening to you, it is important to document the events as they occur. This includes: 

  • Saving all emails to and from the human resources department
  • Forwarding all correspondence about the retaliation to your personal email
  • Keeping a personal journal about how your work environment has gotten worse
  • Gathering any paperwork from prior raises and performance reviews

If you believe you have been the target of retaliation by your employer, you should speak with an experienced Iowa employment law attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to analyze your case and see if you have been the victim of employer retaliation.

Would you like a free, no-obligation case evaluation by one of our Iowa employment attorneys? Call RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

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