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Retaliation is when an employer punishes you for engaging in protected activities. Retaliation can happen while you are employed or an employer could retaliate against you by firing you. Both federal and state laws protect against employer retaliation.

Federal Law

Federal law protects workers from retaliation in many contexts. The right agency to contact depends on the circumstances, but examples include:

Iowa Law

Iowa OSHA protects a worker who reports unsafe or unhealthy work conditions. More information is available on Iowa OSHA’s Whistleblower page.

The Iowa Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to retaliate against someone who:

  • lawfully opposes practices outlawed by the Iowa Civil Rights Act
  • follows the Iowa Civil Rights Act
  • files a complaint under the Iowa Civil Rights Act
  • testifies or assists in proceedings under the Iowa Civil Rights Act

Iowa Code section 216.11. To report retaliation under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, you can contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

Consider contacting a lawyer

In addition to reaching out to government agencies, you may want to contact a lawyer. A lawyer can help you figure out the options available to you, based on who your employer is and what happened. More information about how to find a lawyer, including free and low-cost options, is available on the Finding a Lawyer page.

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Retaliation Rights

Joint DOJ-DOL-NLRB-EEOC Fact Sheet: Retaliation Based on Exercise of Workplace Rights Is Unlawful

Jointly issued federal guidance outlining protections from retaliation under various workplace laws.

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Related Pages

Work Law 


Pay for Your Work

Workplace Health and Safety

Unions and Worker Collective Action

The information in the People's Law Library is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website is legal advice. The law is complicated and many aspects of the law change regularly. Consider reaching out to a lawyer. More information about how to find a lawyer, including free and low-cost options, is available on the Finding a Lawyer page.