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Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Amendments Narrowing Bargaining Rights for Public Sector Unions

The Iowa Supreme Court released five eagerly awaited opinions upholding the 2017 amendments to the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA). The main case on which the four other companion cases relied was American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Counsel 61 v. State of Iowa, No. 17-1841 (May 17, 2019). Taken together, the cases upheld the amendments, which narrowed collective bargaining rights for certain public sector employee unions.

Iowa Law Takes Pathway Around Affordable Care Act

Iowa has passed a controversial law stating that not all health plans actually qualify as health insurance. The new law will allow the Iowa Farm Bureau to collaborate with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state's largest insurer, on self-funded "health benefit plans" that will not have to comply with federal requirements because they are not deemed to be insurance.

Iowa Amends Tough Drug Testing Law to Lower Standard for Positive Alcohol Tests

Beginning July 1, 2018, private employers in Iowa may take action based on an employee’s alcohol test result of .02 grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath. The lower standard was enacted under a 2018 amendment to the Iowa drug testing law (Iowa Code Section 730.5). Prior to the amendment, employers could not take action for alcohol test results below .04 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

Iowa Drug Testing Law Amended; Lawsuits on the Rise

Although Iowa’s drug testing statute was enacted more than 30 years ago, it is still considered one of the most difficult laws in the country for purposes of employer compliance.

Sexual Harassment Case Costs Iowa Taxpayers $2.2 Million

A former staffer for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus in Iowa has been awarded $2.2 million in damages for retaliation that will be paid from Iowa’s already-floundering general fund. Kirsten Anderson was terminated from her position as communications director for the caucus in 2012. She alleged the termination was in retaliation for her complaints about sexual harassment and a hostile work environment and the jury took her side.
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