Employment Law Round-Up

The State finds itself involved in another lawsuit with a disgruntled former employee.  This time the plaintiff is former DCI Agent Larry Hedlund.  Hedlund sued the Department of Public Safety for wrongful termination alleging that he was terminated after complaining about an Iowa State Patrol trooper driving 84 mph while driving Governor Branstad in April.  Allegedly two days after he filed his complaint, he was placed on administrative leave and terminated on July 16.  He is demanding at least $1 million in wages and other benefits.

Social media based firings are still making news.  In this case, two employees from Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston were fired for posting "at least one inappropriate photo of a resident on social media".  The Des Moines Register is not reporting any lawsuits arising out of this case, so perhaps Bishop Drumm used a well-drafted termination letter.

Iowa Federal District Court Judge Linda Reade ordered the EEOC to pay $4.7 million in attorney fees to the law firms representing CRST.  This is just another segment of the EEOC v. CRST saga.  You may recall that the EEOC brought a sexual harassment claim against CRST, a trucking company located in Iowa, on behalf of Monika Starke and "other similarly situated female employees".  To make a long story short, the "other similarly situated female employees" were basically non-existent requiring CRST to defend an "unreasonable, groundless and frivolous" lawsuit.  The cost of defending said lawsuit was $4.7 million, which the EEOC will now have to pay.

A neighboring state becomes the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana.  I have previously commented on workplace problems with the legalization of medical marijuana.  Apparently, the Illinois law has specific provisions related to the workplace, which should assist employer is determining their obligations when faced with an employee using medical marijuana.

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