Case Name: Jahnke v. Deere & Co., et al.

Filed: May 18, 2018 by the Iowa Supreme Court (No. 17-038)

Subject matter: The Iowa Civil Rights Act’s extraterritorial application and whether it applies to a United States citizen working abroad.

“In conclusion, the ICRA does not apply extraterritorially because it contains no clear and affirmative expression or indication of an extraterritorial reach. Likewise, the ICRA does not apply in this case[i] because the plaintiff has failed to show either that the employee or the employer was located within Iowa for purposes of the alleged discriminatory act. Mere Iowa residency and the presence of some ties to Iowa is insufficient to establish that the employment relationship is located ‘in this state.’ With respect to the employer, decisions related to the plaintiff were made in China, and perhaps in Moline, Illinois, but not in Iowa. The mere filing of paperwork in Ankeny, Iowa, and the residence of corporate executives in Iowa do not establish an employment relationship in Iowa in any functional way. Under these circumstances, the plaintiff may have a federal civil rights claim and may have a claim under Illinois law, but he has no claim under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.”

[i] Note the presence of several fact-specific findings.

Kristymarie Shipley
Kristymarie is an Associate Attorney whose practice focuses on litigation, and labor & employment. She is originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico and fluent in Spanish.