Iowa Whistleblower Laws

While most of who work and live in Iowa us enjoy our jobs, and we work on the assumption that our employers are behaving ethically, responsibly, and, most especially, legally. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. So what do we do if we discover bad behavior on the part of our employer? Should we report company misconduct to the authorities and risk getting fired? Luckily for Hawkeye State employees, there are statutes on the books intended to protect employees who report fraud or illegal conduct in the workplace. This is an introduction to "whistleblower" laws in Iowa.

Whistleblower Laws

States have enacted various "whistleblower" laws that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report dangerous, illegal, or otherwise unethical business practices. The statutes are intended to encourage employees to come forward with important information without fear of demotion or termination, and thus protect the integrity of the marketplace.

Iowa Whistle Blower Statutes

State whistleblower laws can vary. The chart below lists the details of Iowa's whistleblower statutes.

Code Section

Iowa Code 70A.28, et seq.: Reprisals Prohibited

Prohibited Employer Activity

Can not discharge, deny appointment or promotion, if employee discloses information they reasonably believe evidences a violation of law or rule, mismanagement, gross abuse of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, unless disclosure prohibited by statute

Protection for Public or Private Employees?

Public

Opportunity for Employer to Correct?

-

Remedies

If employer is not head of a state department/agency or serves in a supervisory capacity within the executive branch of state government, employee can enforce through civil action, and employer is liable for affirmative relief including reinstatement, back pay, or any other equitable relief including attorney's fees and costs. If employee permanent, classified.

Penalties

Simple misdemeanor

Iowa has relatively extensive whistleblower laws, compared with some other states. But state protections aren't the only ones applicable to employees reporting on their employers. The federal False Claims Act allows what are known as "qui tam actions" to be filed by whistleblowers who believe their company has defrauded the government and remain safe from employer retaliation. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 protects whistleblowers in cases of securities, shareholder, and other kinds of fraud.

Iowa Whistleblower Laws: Related Resources

Understanding the interaction and overlap of state and federal employment law can be difficult. You can find additional and resources in FindLaw's section on Employment Law. You can also consult with an Iowa whistleblower attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a corporate malfeasance or employment issue.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.