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Employment At-Will: Iowa

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Stuart R. Buttrick, Susan W. Kline and Angela Morales, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP


  • Under Iowa law, employment is presumed to be at-will. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Iowa courts recognize two exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, including wrongful termination in violation of public policy claims and unilateral contracts created by handbooks. See Exceptions to At-Will Employment.
  • Employers and employees may contractually alter the at-will relationship. Thus, employers should use care to avoid inadvertently creating a contract, and may shield themselves from liability with a well-drafted disclaimer. See Contracts.
  • Under Iowa law, the at-will employment relationship does not bar a claim for promissory estoppel, although claims for promissory estoppel have strict requirements. See Promissory Estoppel.
  • There are numerous tort and statutory exceptions that restrict termination under Iowa law. See Exceptions in Tort, Statutory Exceptions.
  • Public employees may have additional protections against termination under Iowa law. See Public Employees.