If you have been discriminated against at work in Iowa, you may be wondering what you can do to hold your employer accountable.
Both Iowa law and Federal law prohibit workplace discrimination where that discrimination is based on membership in a protected class such as age, race, sex, disability, religion, and other similar groups. These laws also lay out the legal procedures you have to follow in order to bring an action for unlawful discrimination.
With Which Organization Do I File My Iowa Discrimination Claim?
You may have heard of the EEOC – the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is the agency at the Federal level that handles claims of discrimination based on Federal law.
At the local level, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is the first agency that handles claims of unlawful workplace discrimination based on Iowa law.
An experienced employment law attorney can help you understand the difference between these agencies and whether you should start your complaint at the EEOC or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Know that once you file a complaint with one of these agencies, it will be cross-filed with the other agency.
What are the Deadlines I Need to Follow for My Iowa Discrimination Case?
Regardless of where you first file, however, there are strict deadlines you must meet.
If you fail to meet these deadlines, you may be forever barred from taking legal action. Further, in discrimination cases, you must first file a complaint with the EEOC or Iowa Civil Rights Commission before you will be able to file an actual lawsuit in court.
Making sure you comply with those filing deadlines is essential. For claims filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, you must file a complaint with the ICRC within 300 days of the discriminatory incident. In the rare event that your claim can only be brought under federal law with the EEOC, the filing deadline is only 180 days.
Even under the best of circumstances, you have less than one year from the discriminatory act to start the legal process.
This deadline is relatively easy to calculate if your claim involves a specific discriminatory decision such as a termination or demotion.
If, however, your claim is based on repeated acts of harassment based on your protected class membership, or subtle forms of retaliation, it can be more complicated to figure out when to start counting the days to your deadline. An experienced Iowa employment law attorney can help you determine when your time to act may run out.
Do I Have an Iowa Discrimination Claim?
These deadlines apply to negative employment decisions that are motivated by your membership in a protected class identified by law such as:
· National origin
· Gender identity
· Sexual orientation
· Religion; or
The deadlines apply to decisions that result in loss of concrete employment benefits – such as termination, demotion, failure to promote, or failure to hire. But the deadlines also apply if you are being harassed on the basis of your membership in one of these protected groups.
Once you file a complaint, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission – and the EEOC – have complaint processing procedures that an experienced attorney can guide you through. It is only after first filing with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission or the EEOC that you can bring an actual lawsuit in state or federal court.
An experienced employment attorney can help you determine whether to file a lawsuit, explain when you can file the lawsuit, and help you understand the procedures for doing so.
RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation for Iowans discriminated against at work. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.
FightingForFairness.com – If you have been discriminated against at work in Iowa, you have a limited amount of time to file a complaint. Iowa employment law attorney Laura Schultes gives concrete answers to commonly asked questions about filing a discrimination complaint.