Under both state and federal laws, employers cannot discriminate against, treat differently, terminate an employee because of the employee’s age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability.
These laws also protect employees from being retaliated against because they have engaged in legally protected activities such as complaining about or opposing illegal discrimination by their employer.
One example could be a situation where an employee being harassed at work because of his or her race. The employee could complain about the harassment and instead of taking corrective action, the employer may fail retaliate against the employee and make his or her job more difficult or terminate the employee.
In this example, the employee could claim that he or she was subjected to illegal discrimination and that the employee was subjected to illegal retaliation because the employee complained about the discrimination.
In some instances, the law requires some affirmative steps to be taken by an employer. For example, if an employee has a disability as defined by the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the employer has a duty to have an interactive process with the employee to determine whether reasonable accommodations can be made that will allow the employee do their job.
These laws are complex and in place to protect employees. If you believe that you may have a discrimination or retaliation claim, it may be important to you to seek the assistance of a lawyer who practices in the areas of employment, civil rights or discrimination law.