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Employee Discipline: Iowa

Employee Discipline 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, Tareen Zafrullah and Taylor L. Haran, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP


  • Employers must not discipline employees based on protected leave. See Attendance.
  • Employers must not discipline employees based on protected characteristics. See Iowa Antidiscrimination Laws.
  • While Iowa employers may terminate an employee with or without cause under state law, employers may not dismiss an employee based on a protected characteristic. See Employment at Will.
  • Iowa is a one party consent state with respect to recording meetings, including those of a disciplinary nature. See Recording Communications.
  • Iowa's Smokefree Air Act requires employers to provide smoke-free workplaces. See Iowa Smokefree Air Act.
  • Iowa law regulates employee drug and alcohol testing and AIDS and HIV testing. See Drug and Alcohol Testing; AIDS and HIV testing.
  • Iowa law regulates employee polygraph testing. See Polygraph Testing.
  • Iowa hospitals may face liability if they do not properly discipline employees with criminal histories. See Criminal Convictions.
  • Employees have a right to inspect their personnel files, including disciplinary records. See Personnel Files.
  • Iowa law prohibits employees from making false representations to employers regarding their educational records. See Educational Records.
  • Iowa law allows an employer to sue an employee for breach of loyalty or breach of fiduciary duty. See Workplace Theft.
  • Iowa law generally prohibits employers from resorting to "self-help" and withholding cash shortages, lost or stolen property from an employee's wages. See Wage Deductions.
  • Iowa law allows an employer to sue an employee for misappropriation of trade secrets. See Trade Secrets.
  • Noncompete agreements are enforceable in Iowa. See Noncompete Agreements.
  • Waterloo has requirements pertaining to employee discipline. See Local Requirements.