When an employer closes a plant, conducts a large layoff, downsizes, or otherwise cuts a significant number of jobs, employees in Iowa – and every other state -- have certain rights. Unfortunately, employees are not legally entitled to keep their jobs, get another position within the company, or be rehired if things turn around. No law forbids employers from laying off workers when financial times get tough.
However, in a plant closing or sizable layoff, employees have the right to a certain amount of notice and, if the employer fails to give proper notice, to limited damages. These rights come from the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. Almost half of the states have similar laws, and Iowa is one of them. Some states require that employers pay a small severance or continue employee health benefits for a short period after the layoff. Iowa has not gone this far, but does have a notice requirement, similar to WARN.
This article provides information on the rights of Iowa employees under the federal WARN Act and Iowa’s layoff law. For more information on your rights when you are laid off (including when you should receive your final paycheck, how to continue your health benefits, and more), see the articles at our Losing or Leaving Your Job page.