Court Rules Against Iowa Senate Republicans in Sexual Harrassment Case

Oct 28, 2015

The Iowa Court of Appeals today ruled in favor of a complainant in a sexual harassment case.  

The case alleges violations of Iowa’s Civil Rights statute by Iowa Senate Republicans.

Senate Republicans fired Kristen Anderson from her job as communications director in May of 2013 alleging poor job performance.   Anderson claimed she was fired for reporting sexual harassment on the job. 

Kristen Anderson’s lawsuit names the Iowa Senate Republican caucus and Senate Minority leader Bill Dix, among others.    She claims senators and male staffers objectified women in their comments.  

Without hearing pros and cons of the complaint, Polk County District Court dismissed it on procedural grounds.    

The Court of Appeals disagreed and sent the case back to district court.       

Presiding Judge Amanda Potterfield writes Anderson didn’t need to argue in court that she exhausted all administrative remedies before suing.    And she says the Iowa Senate Republican caucus is subject to civil rights law.  

Attorneys for the state argued argued the Senate Republican caucus is not a person and thus not subject to the law.  

The state can ask for further review by the Iowa Supreme Court.

The State of Iowa and the entire Iowa State Senate are also named in the suit.  They are represented in the case by Solicitor General Jeffrey S. Thompson.