Iowa Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you have had the misfortune to experience workplace sexual harassment in Iowa State you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for the sexual harassment.

The Iowa Civil Rights Law prohibits Iowa workplace sexual harassment. The law ensures you can work without being sexually harassed in Iowa by a co-worker.

What Iowa State Laws and Federal Laws Protect Against Sexual Harassment?

The federal laws that prohibit sexual harassment come under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

(EEOC) has published guidelines on sexual harassment in the workplace in Iowa which provide a legal definition of sexually harassing behavior. The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965, Iowa Code Chapter 216, also prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.

What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment covers many areas such as unwelcomed sexual advances, demand for sexual favors in return for workplace privilege, and any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which if not agreed to could affect the victim’s employment status such as making it difficult for a high level of work performance to be maintained due to the hostile work environment created by the sexual harassment.

Examples of sexual harassment could be any of the following:

  • whistling;
  • verbal commentary about an individual's body, sexual prowess or verbal abuse with a sexual nature;
  • touching;
  • highlighting a person’s sexual deficiencies;
  • repetitive sexual jokes;
  • pinching;
  • leering;
  • flirting;
  • demand for sexual favors;
  • advances or propositions.

How is Sexual Harassment Covered by Law in Iowa?

Sexual harassment as a type of sex discrimination violates the federal law found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

Under Iowa law employers are required to establish and post company policies in a public area in the workplace explaining how sexual harassment is monitored and handled. Employers cannot retaliate against any employee who has alleged sexual harassment in a claim.

The Iowa anti-discrimination statute covers some of the smaller employers who won’t be covered by federal law. So if your workplace has from 6 to14 employees, you should file your complaint with the ICRC, as the EEOC enforces federal law, which covers only employers with 15 or more employees.

Where Can a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim be Filed in Iowa?

The ICRC receives, investigates, and resolves individual complaints alleging sexual harassment which violates the "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 as amended."

The filing of a complaint of sexual harassment is the first stage of the complaint process. Any employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment prohibited by the Iowa Civil Rights Act should immediately report the incident to his or her direct supervisor.

If senior figures were responsible for the sexual harassment, the complaint may be submitted directly to the director of the Department of Administrative Services or the Governor’s Office without reporting the matter to anyone in the workplace.

How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in Iowa?

There are strict time limits called the statute of limitations which are given to file a sexual harassment claim in Iowa. You should file with the ICRC within 300 days of the date the sexual harassment took place.

 If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment in an Iowa workplace taking the following steps can help to speed up the processing of your case:

  • recording in writing the specific sexual harassment incidents including both dates and sexual harassment  times;
  • asking witnesses to provide written accounts showing that the sexual harassment happened;
  • keeping any proof used by the harasser like texts, letters, voicemails and emails;
  • reporting the sexual harassment to the human resources department, or other individual in the workplace delegated the responsibility for receiving and processing complaints.

Getting Help Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in Iowa

If you have adequate proof showing you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment and you have collected sufficient evidence to prove it, you should contact an employment lawyer.

A lawyer can appraise the facts of your Iowa workplace sexual harassment case, and advise you how to proceed next, and if needed represent you at any court proceedings.

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