Iowa Fair Employment Hiring Practices

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					Iowa Civil Rights Commission

The information contained in this presentation is a brief overview and should not be construed as legal advice or exhaustive coverage of the topic.

Fair Employment Hiring Practices

ICRC Law on Employment
The “Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965” is contained in Chapter 216 of the Iowa Code.

“216.6 Unfair employment practices” enumerates the hiring practices covered by state law.

ICRC Law on Employment
The personal characteristics covered are: age, race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.
Iowa law covers employers of four or more employees. Most federal laws require 15 employees for coverage.

ICRC Law on Employment
Unfair or discriminatory practices include the refusal to hire, accept, register, classify, or refer for employment, to discharge any employee, or to otherwise discriminate in employment against any applicant for employment or any employee because of their protected personal characteristic.

ICRC Law on Employment

Labor organizations or the employees, agents, or members thereof are covered by this law and may not discriminate on the basis of a protected characteristic.

ICRC Law on Employment
It is illegal for an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or the employees, agents, or members thereof to directly or indirectly advertise or in any other manner indicate or publicize that individuals of any particular protected group are unwelcome, objectionable, not acceptable, or not solicited for employment or membership.

ICRC Law on Employment
An employer, employment agency, or their employees, servant, or agents may offer employment or advertise for employment to only persons with disabilities, when other applicants have available to them other employment compatible with their ability which would not be available to persons with disabilities because of their disabilities.

ICRC Law on Employment
AIDS Testing
It is illegal to solicit or require as a condition of employment of any employee or prospective employee a test for the presence of the antibody to the human immunodeficiency virus or to affect the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment or terminate the employment of any employee solely as a result of the employee obtaining a test for the presence of the antibody to the human immunodeficiency virus.

What Questions are off-limits?
Age/date of birth
Generally, age is considered not to be relevant in most hiring decisions, and therefore, date-of-birth questions are Improper. Age is a sensitive preemployment question, because the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees 40 years of age and above. Iowa law covers all ages.

What Questions are off-limits?
Race, religion, national origin
Generally, questions should not be asked about these matters, either on employment applications or during job interviews. The requirements that an applicant furnish a picture has been held to help support a claim for race discrimination when it was demonstrated that an employer never hired a minority applicant. Ordinarily, Title VII requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for their employees’ religious practices, thus eliminating the necessity for asking whether an applicant’s religious beliefs would prohibit his or her working at certain times and on certain days in most situations.

What Questions are off-limits?
Physical traits, disabilities
Height and weight requirements have been found to violate the law in situations where such requirements have eliminated disproportionate numbers of female, Asian-American, and Spanishsurnamed applicants when in such cases, the employer could not show that the physical standards were directly-related to job performance.

What Questions are off-limits?
An arrest is no indication whatsoever of guilt. Historically, persons of color have suffered proportionately more arrests than others and accordingly the courts have held that without proof of business necessity an employer’s use of arrest records to disqualify job applicants is unlawful discrimination.

What Questions are off-limits?
Marital Status
Some Employers have refused to hire married women for certain jobs. Most airlines, for example, refused for many years to permit a married woman to be a flight attendant, though other employees could be married. Some applications have included questions on whether the applicant is widowed, divorced, or separated. Such inquiries should be eliminated because they are not related to job performance.

What Questions are off-limits?
The anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act provides that an employer cannot discriminate because an applicant is not a U.S. citizen. Therefore, in order to avoid charges of discrimination under this Act, citizenship questions should probably be deleted from employment applications. The Form I-9 is the appropriate place to determine citizenship status instead of the employment application.

What should be asked?
Job related
Based on the requirements of the job as stated in the position description.

Calling for objective responses and allowing for objective evaluation of answers.

Consistently applied
to ALL applicants.

Iowa Civil Rights Commission
211 East Maple Street, 2nd Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1858 515-281-4121 800-457-4416 FAX 515-242-5840

Description: Iowa Fair Employment Hiring Practices