In 2009, Iowa passed the Iowa Equal Pay Act, which provided significant protection from discriminatory wage practices to Iowa employees. Iowa’s law is much broader that the Federal Equal Pay Act and provides employees with greater protection. Under Iowa’s statute, not only are employers prohibited from discriminating in their pay practices based on gender, they are also prohibited from discriminating in their pay practices based on pregnancy, religion, race, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Iowa’s statute prohibits employers from paying persons lower wages for equal work on jobs, the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility and which are performed similar working conditions.
In addition to expanding a class of people that are protected under the Iowa’s Equal Pay Act, the Act also provides for employees to recover additional damages. Iowa employees are entitled to recover from their employers, the difference between the amount that they were paid and the amount paid to other similar employees during the entire period of the discriminatory practice. Employees are also entitled to recover twice the amount of their actual damages and three times the amount, in the event that they can show that the discrimination was willful. Employees can also recover reasonable attorneys’ fees for lawsuits brought under Iowa’s Equal Pay Act.
If you believe that you are being paid less than fellow employees based on your gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or pregnancy you should contact an attorney to discuss whether you have a claim under Iowa’s Equal Pay Act.