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Judge Denies Unemployment Benefits for Fired IFA Director Accused of Sexual Harassment

dave jamison
John Pemble/IPR file
Former IFA Director Dave Jamison

A judge has ruled former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison should not have received unemployment benefits after he was fired over credible allegations of sexual harassment.

Gov. Kim Reynolds fired Jamison in late March, hours after two of his employees came forward with allegations of sexual harassment.

Jamison was granted unemployment benefits in April, and the governor’s office appealed that decision by Iowa Workforce Development.

Administrative Law Judge Nicole Merrill ruled last week Jamison was fired for "job-related misconduct," which disqualifies him from receiving unemployment benefits.

"[Jamison’s] behavior was contrary to the best interests of employer and the safety of its employees and is disqualifying conduct," Merrill writes in her ruling.

During a teleconference appeal hearing last Tuesday, a lawyer for Jamison argued the governor’s office should reveal the names of the accusers.

Merrill disagreed, writing in her decision, "Maintaining confidentiality is of paramount importance when dealing with allegations such as these, as unnecessarily breaking that confidence could lead to a chilling effect, preventing other employees who may experience harassment of discrimination from coming forward."

Merrill adds Jamison did not appear at the hearing or present any witnesses to challenge the allegations.

"The employer’s version of events is therefore credible, as it was the only version of events presented at the hearing," Merrill writes.

Merrill ruled Jamison does not have to pay back the $3,185 in benefits he already received because the state declined to participate in initial unemployment proceedings.

Jamison has 15 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter